‘I Know Everything You Know About Me’
by Troy Blackford
retold in the laundry room by
a nice girl from three apartments down
I heard a story about this guy named James that works at this museum about guns or plows or something like that way out in the country, fifteen miles from the closest town. Anyway, James is the guy who sells tickets to people when they get there. He’s standing around all day, and hardly anybody shows up, and James is all bored, and he’s standing waiting to go home, and then he sees this guy come walking up the driveway.
Remember? This is real far out in the country. The guy didn’t have a car or anything, he was just walking up from the road. And this guy is like really big, like he could beat us all up easy. And he was walking up the dirt path really fast, even though he was huge.
James doesn’t know what’s up with the crazy-big guy coming up the driveway, and he gets all nervous. And the guy comes right up to the booth, and James sees him up close and is all like: this dude is only fifteen years old!
Like the guy looks really big, but really he’s not even fully grown yet? The guy has a weird, slow voice, and what he says makes no sense. The guy is like: “I want a ticket, but I don’t want to pay with no money. I want to pay with a magic trick.”
James is all ‘what the hell,’ you know? Not, you know, out loud, but still. Before James can say anything, the big guy goes on.
“I know you think I’m big, and slow, and you think my voice sounds weird.” James thinks the guy is talking about stereotypes, that James is writing him off as a ‘big dumb country boy.’ “You don’t just think it’s weird that I walked up this road,” the big teenage dude says. “You think it’s like stereotypically weird!”
James thinks ‘That’s uncanny,’ and the guy says “And uncanny.”
And now James is all weirded out, but he still thinks it must be some kind of joke. The big dude’s just, you know, acting awkward on purpose to eff with him. And it creeped James out because he had been nervous about just seeing this giant kid before the guy had even said anything. So now he was like super-freaking out, you know?
The kid slams his fist down on the counter and he’s all like “Now you think I’m some kind of awkward joke and you’re scared of me.” But it was like the kid said it all weird: ‘awk-uh-ward.’
And James is all creeped out but... what’s that word? It’s important to the story. But... is it ‘prevaricated?’ That’s not it. Oh! I know!
James wonders if what the big kid says is predicated on what James is actually thinking, or is the guy just like, you know, guessing how people might respond? The kid starts slamming his fist down hard, and he says “You’re trying to trick me! What the hell is pear etiquette?”
That really freaked James out. He was scared of the kid before, but now he was like: Oh my God! He really can read my mind! What am I going to do?
“Why do you need to do anything?” the big kid says, all stomping mad. “Why don’t you just give me my tickets? Wasn’t that a good enough trick?” He was almost crying, and his face was super red.
James reached down for this gun they had under the register, trying to act like he was just getting the tickets, and the kid was like “You’re lying!” like James had said something, and he reached in and James tried to shoot him but the kid already knew what was happening and he kept grabbing and broke his neck.
The big kid looked around, but nobody saw him do it or anything. He dropped James on the floor of the booth, and tore off a ticket. And the thing of it is, when he was going up to the doors to go into the museum, the kid was all like: “This always happens. I should go back to paying for things with money.”
Or something like that.