The Liars' League Songbook - an Official Brooklyn Book Festival Event
Featuring stories by writers P.J. Kryfko, Anthony Tognazzini, Kevin Norris, and J.T. Townley; performed by actors Jonathan Minton, Roya Shanks, Jenny Williamson, and Jeff Wills; with musical accompaniment by Travis Tench and Caitlin Mahoney. Hosted by Andrew Lloyd-Jones and Nancy Hightower at 68 Jay Street Bar on Wednesday, 14th September for the Brooklyn Book Festival.
I needed to quit my job. The pay was terrible, the hours were worse, and besides, I was pretty sure my job was getting ready to quit me. I thought a lunch hour sitting in Central Park looking out over the lake would wind me down, give some serene perspective to the grind of my existence. All I got was bullshit.
Thank you for your invitation. It arrived a week ago. The envelope is nice. Yellow’s such a festive color, and I thank you for that. The truth is I’d love to attend your party, but I can’t decide which wine to bring. Malbec? Gewurztraminer? Also, I don’t own the right clothes. I tried on the puce blouse, and the green dress with red dots. Neither was right. I tried on slacks until the bedroom was a pandemonium of discarded slacks. Then I lay down, exhausted.
She was really, really angry about this. Even taking the long view, and the possibilities that it represented, it still made her absolutely livid that she had to be an astronaut. An astronaut! What the fuck.
She had made her case, had given an impassioned--bordering on the obscene at times--speech to the Commission as to why she had neither the disposition nor, indeed, the desire to have anything whatsoever to do with going to outer space. The Commission listened to her, their dour, doughy faces inscrutable in the haze of cigarette smoke that permeated the room. After less than a quarter hour of deliberation they called her back into the room and said that she would be an astronaut whether she liked it or not.
Then I met the penguin.
I’d just awakened from a long, mid-afternoon nap. A sliver of blinding sunlight sliced into my cocoon; groggy, I stumbled to the window. At least in winter, a pall of blackness covered the continent, or so I’d heard. This time of year, though, visibility was so good I could see for miles across the ice shelf. With nothing to help gauge distance, perspective collapsed. I could reach out and touch it all. Only there was nothing to touch—just the emptiness of white spaces. Snow and ice and frosty mountain peaks, vacant sea and sky. It was all so much nothing. I rubbed my face, then reached to draw the curtains.