2xl

These pieces are inspired by Harry Mathews, who was in turn inspired by Stendahl’s dictum for writers to compose “twenty lines a day, genius or not.”

I don’t do these daily, but occasionally, and following these rules for myself:

– 20 lines, no more, and ideally no less
– Each written in a single sitting
– No revisions except to correct misspellings and obvious typos

2xl: 2016-01-18

It takes 11 lbs of force to strangle a human being.

A bit more weight than a bag of sugar or a gallon-and-a-half of milk.

Or 20 average paperback romance novels.

Or 22 hard drives with 9 million songs or 6 million books or god knows how many ones and zeroes that can be forced to squeak and bleat into the unending silence.

The Gripmaster Pro ™ requires 11 lbs of force per finger, “appropriate only for individuals requiring extreme and extraordinary grasping power.”

The NYPD modifies their service firearms to a 12-pound trigger pull.

In 2012, NYPD police officers wounded 9 bystanders outside the Empire State Building; there were no superheroes in sight.

Your choice: the Beretta Model 455 SXS Express Rifle with walnut hand-checkered grip and fore-end, side-lock action, case-hardened finish and double triggers or the Ithaca Model 37 Deerslayer II pump shotgun.

Take home that 11-lb turkey…143 minutes in the oven and 11 greasy-forks picking at the carcass.

An old rule of thumb: when a baby reaches 11 lbs they’ll start to sleep more soundly at night.

Khloé Kardashian reveals how she lost 11 lbs in a month!

I’ve lost at least 11 lbs on at least 11 diets including low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie and the cabbage soup plan.

But the 11lb bullfrog is just a myth, the Internet tells me (but the Internet tells me a lot of things).

A newly-hatched Sauropod, a dinosaur known for its immense size, weighed around 11 pounds, about as much as a housecat.

Maybe you’re more comfortable thinking of this as 5 kilograms or 3/4 of a stone.

I can curl an 11-lb dumbbell 192 times in a row…and counting.

Reported time of application to unconsciousness due to strangulation range from 7 seconds to a minute.

He nailed a rope to a beam on his patio.

She tried to drive away.

The most important things weigh nothing at all.

2XL: 2022-10-19

As I know now, choosing same-day delivery of a single book in a dog-sized box full of plastic.

As I know now, still shoveling the food my crying self didn’t have into today’s maw, the nerves in my feet and hands afire.

Trampwaddling through the meat section, I nose and nudge the shiny plastic packages of flesh, nauseated at knowing the social intelligence of the cow, the clever friendships of the pig, the sour smell of block and blade.

Not nauseated enough.

I indulge every appetite until I’m sick and then do it again.

A few more minutes of driving and I’ll park, ascend the stairs around a museum of glass silvering in the new sun, boats rising and falling on the water behind me.

I’ll cross a short bridge, the faint sweet stink of manure from the slow-moving train, the acrid exhaust of cars, the reek each steelcased animal riding tire or track.

I’ll descend, framed by the redbrick historic train station on one side, the similarly clad courthouse on the other.

For a moment, at the edge of the busy crossing, I’ll forget about my coffee order, wondering if I should wait for the robotic voice telling me it’s safe to walk.

I’ll teeter on the edge of an answer to how this can be, to what I can do.

I’ll hear the faint peal, the summons, the answer in my mother’s voice, her final rictus, her nothing now.

I’ll carry the dead weight of myself, the skin sack I swing in place of my convictions, no stoplights to slow me down.

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