By Mathias Svalina


You are a lawyer & arguing in front of the Supreme Court. Your argument is subtle yet muscular, structured to lure the justices in until they teeter at the edge of your decision then tip themselves over the precipice. As you finish there is an audible gasp from the audience. You sit & peek at the competing lawyer. She mouths the sentence How can I follow that? to her colleague. You feel proud. You try not to feel smug. But you got this. After the other lawyer’s argument there’s a recess. You wait outside alone & a boy in overalls walks up. This is for you, the boy says & hands you a piece of paper ripped from a notebook. The note reads Please meet me in my chambers. It is signed Justice Thomas Hanks. Just then you remember, it hadn’t seemed relevant before, that Tom Hanks is on the Supreme Court. The boy in overalls says Follow me & guides you through a tangled maze of sliding & secret & trap doors until you arrive at Justice Thomas Hanks’s chambers. Hanks has an old red pickup truck in his chambers, no other furniture. He is sitting in the driver seat with the truck off. He waves you in & you climb in. Hanks chuckles. That was one hell of an argument, he says. But you know what? If I side against you the others will follow my lead. You could say I hold your future in my hands. You realize Hanks is negotiating. What do you want? you say. I want, Hanks turns to you, you to kiss me. You are outraged, but it’s his word against yours & Tom Hanks is the most trusted man in America. You kiss him, a light peck on the lips. No, Hanks says, I want you to kiss me like your children are on fire. You refuse & there is a series of action-movie sequences, chases, explosions, snipers. You end up in a grocery store. There is pyramid of perfectly ripened avocados & you approach them, excited. A man in overalls cuts in front of you, scoops all the avocados up, & tosses them into his cart. You are devastated. You glare at the man in overalls. He pays you no mind. You feel shockingly dejected. You are no longer hungry. You start to leave. But then you see another pyramid of perfectly ripened avocados & you walk over & start squeezing them & they feel so correct.



Mathias Svalina is the author of five books, most recently The Wine-Dark Sea from Sidebrow Books. He is an editor for Octopus Books and he runs a dream delivery service, which you can subscribe to at: dreamdeliveryservice.com.

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