‘Estrellas y Rascacielos’ by Justin Taylor


From Fifty-Two Stories:

The anarchists were drinking victory shots and making toasts because even though they’d never met with success before they surely knew it when they saw it or it found them. Snapcase, his beard effulgent with spilled drink, was sure that school was out forever. He’d tossed Jessica’s survey of art history, his own Norton Shakespeare, and somebody’s copy of Derrida’s The Gift of Death into the fire pit they had dug in the backyard. The shallow hole was surrounded by salvaged chairs and shaded by a blue canvas canopy they’d stolen from some resort because property was always already theft anyway, and plus they had really wanted that canopy. The books were doused with whiskey from a bottle of Ancient Age. Snapcase lit a hand-rolled cigarette and then tossed his still-burning match into the shallow pit. It went out in the air, so he lit another and placed it gingerly in a little pool of whiskey. It snuffed there. Someone said something about lighting three matches in a row. Somebody else said no, the expression was no three on a match. And how that expression had come from World War I, because if you lit three cigarettes off one match in your foxhole or trench the enemy in his foxhole or trench had three pins of light to triangulate your location and then he blew up everything or maybe just shot you and your two buddies.

Knock off the history book shit, Snapcase said. Where were the history books anyway? His fire was still unlit. The other anarchists who’d been watching were disappointed. I have to be at work in an hour, one said. Snapcase went back into the house for the history books. He ran into David in the living room.

But I like Nietzsche, David said, grabbing back his dogeared copy of The Antichrist, which Snapcase had just taken from the bookshelf. Though no less certain in his convictions, David was not prepared to burn his Dictionary of Critical Theory and the books to which that book was a kind of skeleton key.

Yeah but if, Snapcase said.

Hey, why do you call yourself Snapcase? someone said.

Dude, someone else said, it’s a band. Don’t you know anything about hardcore?

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