Infinite Jest
closet and room’s front door, door’s frame’s bolections; the cone of light pans over fixtures, the lumpy jumbles of sleeping boys’ shadows on the snuff-white walls, the two rag throw-rugs’ ovals on the hardwood floor, black lines of baseboards’ reglets, the cracks in the Venetian blinds that ooze the violet nonlight of a night with snow and just a hook of moon; the flashlight with your name in maternal cursive plays over every cm. of the walls, the rheostats, CD, InterLace poster of Tawni Kondo, phone console, desks’ TPs, the face in the floor, posters of pros, the onionskin yellow of the desklamps’ shades, the ceiling-panels’ patterns of pinholes, the grid of upper bunk’s springs, recession of closet and door, boys wrapped in blankets, slight crack like a creek’s course in the eastward ceiling discernible now, maple reglet border at seam of ceiling and walls north and south no floor has a face your flashlight showed but didn’t no never did see its eyes’ pupils set sideways and tapered like a cat’s its eyebrows’ \ / and horrid toothy smile leering right at your light all the time you’ve been scanning oh mother a face in the floor mother oh and your flashlight’s beam stabs jaggedly back for the overlooked face misses it overcorrects then centers on what you’d felt but had seen without seeing, just now, as you’d so carefully panned the light and looked, a face in the floor there all the time but unfelt by all others and unseen by you until you knew just as you felt it didn’t belong and was evil: Evil.
    And then its mouth opens at your light.
    And then you wake like that, quivering like a struck drum, lying there awake and quivering, summoning courage and spit, roll to the right just as in the dream for the nametagged flashlight on the floor by the bed just in case, lie there on your shank and side, shining the light all over, just as in the dream. Lie there panning, looking, all ribs and elbows and dilated eyes. The awake floor is littered with gear and dirty clothes, blond hardwood with sealed seams, two throw-rugs, the bare waxed wood shiny in the windows’ snowlight, the floor neutral, faceless, you cannot see any face in the floor, awake, lying there, faceless, blank, dilated, playing beam over floor again and again, not sure all night forever unsure you’re not missing something that’s right there: you lie there, awake and almost twelve, believing with all your might.


    ‘I hate this!’ Orin yells out to whoever glides near. He doesn’t loop or spiral like the showboats; he sort of tacks, the gliding equivalent of snow-plowing, unspectacular and aiming to get it over ASAP and intact. The fake red wings’ nylon clatters in an updraft; ill-glued feathers keep peeling off and rising. The updraft is the oxides from Mile-High’s thousands of open mouths. Far and away the loudest stadium anyplace. He feels like a dick. The beak makes it hard to breathe and see. Two reserve ends do some kind of combined barrel-roll thing. The worst is the moment right before they make the jump off the stadium’s rim. Hands in the top rows reaching and clutching. People laughing. The Interlace cameras panning and tightening; Orin knows too well the light on the side that means Zoom. Once they’re out over the field the voices melt and merge into oxides and updraft. The left guard is soaring up instead of down. A couple beaks and a claw fall off somebody and go pinwheeling down toward the green. Orin tacks grimly back and forth. He’s among those who steadfastly refuse to whistle or squawk. Bonus or no. The stadium loudspeaker’s a steely gargle. You can never hear it clearly even on the ground.
    The sad old ex-QB who now just holds on place-kicks falls in beside Orin’s slow back-and-forth about 100 meters over the 40. He’s one of the token females, his beak blunter and wings’ red nongarish.
    ‘Hate and loathe this with a

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