Their Days Are Numbered is a new year-long project authored by the collective Entropy community. It is a collaborative online novel written by the Entropy community on a weekly basis. A different author will write the next “chapter” each week, to be posted every Tuesday, following the previous post from the previous week, and following a very limited set of guidelines (that each author has one week to write the next piece after the previous week’s installment goes up, that installments should range between 150-1500 words, and that pieces should somehow incorporate a real-life occurrence, current event, news item, or other happening from that week).
Follow the entire “novel” here: Their Days Are Numbered.
The eighteenth installment is presented this week by Henry Hoke.
When we were under eighteen they would pull us out of our daydreams and wildernesses and want to throw a ball with us. When we turned eighteen they said they wanted to throw us a ball, meaning throw a ball for us. A big old celebration to say congratulations you made it to adulthood, and now kind of fuck you; y’all can fend for yourselves.
For all our kid years, our parents wouldn’t go near each other, they lived separate, shopped at different marts, but for this ball they got together, pooled their liquor. Rented a space. They forgot to actually invite us, but were like oh you can come if you want.
Our wilderness was a construction site. We were still kids till midnight, throwing pebbles and pretending we were abstractions, when our parents all rolled up. It’s party time, they shouted down to us from their outfits.
Where’s the party happening, we asked. In the planet, they all said, but that wasn’t an exact address and they kept going on down the block. We stopped playing and followed after them, but they were gone. We went down into basements and car parks, searched but couldn’t find any entrance.
So we didn’t go. Alright, they might’ve said to our faces, we support you, but we knew that in private they would tsk like that’s weakness, not attending some shit that isn’t really about us at all. They’d drink that opinion and like it.
We tried to get back to playing but it wasn’t fun anymore. We started to feel vibrations below the street, so we peeled up a part of the curb and beneath it was a window down into the party. Our parents all seemed to be having a blast in the planet, so we cleared more asphalt and grates and made the street a big set of windows to watch down through to them and their catered hell. We tried to guess what they were mouthing.
Today is for you,
no, it’s for you,
no, it’s for you.
One of us above dropped a soda and it made a dent in the window glass. The image went all stuttery and we got it that we were looking at TVs, not windows. The motherfuckers were broadcasting; we couldn’t tell live or tape. Somebody went to find a remote. On TV our parents were all mashing together, raising glasses. They made a toast but it didn’t seem like a toast to us. Somebody unmuted it so that then, yeah, we heard. Some of us threw up. Some of us smashed the TVs. All of us smashed the TVs.
There were mirrors underneath. For a minute we saw our own faces and bodies inside. The whole ground like a disco ball, low angle, yeah, but we love ourselves. We don’t need to reflect. We broke through the mirrors and it was just white insulation garbage. We thought for so long we were on a planet with a sweet center, we thought tonight they were all inside having fun, but the more white insulation garbage we pulled up in long blobs, the more it made sense for us to look up instead. Contrails. They definitely left.
If you’re watching now, you see us angry looking up: we see y’all in space. Yeah we blamed bad days on God before, but hey now we get to blame them on you. We lit the garbage core burning, our planet’s got fire at the center again. It’s something. Space sucks. You’re all gonna die unreachable in space. What on earth is wrong with you.