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T

HE DOORBELL RANG.



“Would you please answer that?”
The doorbell rang, echoing off the apartment’s thin walls like the cries of a fat man would echo off of a canyon’s much thicker walls if said fat man ignored his tour guide, got too close to the edge of the canyon, and was plummeting to his


“I’m writing to our senator, you do it.”

“You’re not writing, you’re wasting time and ink and, while we’re at it, valuable amounts of air, blood, and human flesh.”

“Yeah, well, fuck you, too. Why can’t you get it?”

“I’m naked.”

The doorbell rang out like an old .22 being fired into a paper target inside the close, echoey concrete walls of a suburban firing range.

“Why the fuck are you naked?”

“I’m practicing to be a nudist.”

“Since when?”

“Last week. I was having a hell of a time finding a pair of pants that fit comfortably, this seemed a viable alternative.”

“That’s a remarkably strained conclusion.”

“It’s cheaper, easier, and my nuts don’t sweat nearly as much as they used to.”

“I’d rather not have any knowledge of your testicles or their workings, thanks.”

“Well, you’d better get used to them; I’m committed to this nudist thing now.”

The doorbell rang, like the tinny, ringing sound in the ears of someone who was too close to a really, really loud noise, like a giant gong or something.

“Then answer the fucking door!”

“I’m not comfortable enough with my body to do that yet.”

“Then you’re not really a nudist now, are you? Put on a towel and answer the damn door.”

“You could’ve answered it three times by now! I know you; you can’t write and yell at the same time. You’re just not that skilled.”

“Well... I’m not expecting anyone.”

“Neither am I. But since you have pants on you should answer it.”

“That’s flawed logic.”

“It’s common sense.”

The doorbell rang, echoing off the apartment’s thin walls like the cries of a fat man would echo off of a canyon’s much thicker walls if said fat man ignored his tour guide, got too close to the edge of the canyon, and was plummeting to his fat, stupid doom.

“Do we have to answer it?”

“Well, no, I guess not. I mean, we should, societal mores say that we have to, but there’s no physical presence that’s going to force our hand and make either of us answer it, no.”

“So, what you’re saying is, since there’s no guaranteed gain or reward for either of us attached to the finger that keeps pushing that doorbell, and since we don’t seem to have any sort of curiosity that needs to be sated, the only reason to answer it is because everyone else in our complex, our neighborhood, and probably, to some extent, the rest of our country, expects us to.”


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About Eirik Gumeny


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Eirik Gumeny is over six feet tall and enjoys sugar. Originally from the highway-choked suburbs of New Jersey, he now lives in the mile-high desert of New Mexico. He is very pale and it is very sunny, so he will probably combust any day now. He has still never seen a coyote, though he has eaten lunch with a roadrunner. Eirik is the author of the...read more Exponential Apocalypse series, co-author of Screw the Universe, founding/former editor of Jersey Devil Press, and a folder of origami cranes. His short fiction has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Thieves Jargon, Kaleidotrope, and Monkeybicycle, and two of his stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His plays have been workshopped in New York City, his resumes have gotten a number of his friends jobs, and his doodles occasionally make it onto the refrigerator.

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