Turned By: Nobody Stenson stands against a whitewashed wall, chain smoking loose Pall Mall cigarettes dumped into a carton with a buzzing head and a shaking hand. He grips a brand-new, plastic office phone which was ripped clean from the cashwrap. He’s slamming nine-one-one, even though it’s not plugged in. Even though the lines have been dead for three days. “Ill I’ll sit,” Stenson says, “Illicitly soliciting calls to cite a city of lost souls.” Stenson talks about the sky. He talks about throwing away his smartphone. About how he’ll call his wife. On this phone, instead. He talks about how he’ll burn his Benjamin’s to bits of ash until they fold to the wind. Just like the sandcastle people scattered like mulch into a gutter outside the church with a firehose. Next weekend, even. Talks about how he’ll give up all things unnecessary. All of it. About how he’ll move to Hawaii. One of those ‘way out there’ places. Stenson talks of all the what-ifs. The what-nots. The who-knows. And the have-nots. Stenson—he doesn’t talk about his right wrist: About the double-crescent punch hole card, right over his birthmark which bleeds. He doesn’t say it reminds him of the time he woke up from anesthesia at the orthodontist’s office. About how it looks like a wayward wisdom tooth removal, caught in the broadside of an inspection mirror. He’s sitting on an overturned desk in a ransacked Staples. Speaking feverish nonsense, mostly. “It is the nation’s oblique ham-sham leg,” Stenson says, shaking. “It is an obtuse anthem by covet-means. A quarry of queries but no truths.” If Stenson were to check, his temperature would read one-hundred and seven. His eyes: pinkened like unstirred strawberry milk. He vomits something yellow into the paper collection tray of a photocopier. All things considered, there’s no more fucks to give. He’s already dead. But people like Stenson have a story to tell. So some say, people like Stenson live forever—if there’s somebody to write it down. Even if that somebody is Nobody. Because what they don’t say, about people like Stenson, is this: How long can a person’s final moments really last? This will not be pretty. Nobody cares. And, like most, Nobody has a job to do. ------------------------------------------- Stenson's Vitals: Head: Ok Left Arm: Ok Right Arm: Bite on right wrist Chest: Ok Torso: Ok Left Leg: Ok Right Leg: Ok Stenson's Equipment: -T-shirt -Jeans -Nike Sneakers Stenson's Weapons: -Plastic Office Phone Infection Statistics: # Hours Since Infection: 1 # Of People Infected: 0 Location: Staples Office Supplies, West Point, KY ------------------------------------------- Outside, there is screaming. Men, women, and children rush through the streets. They run everywhere. They run nowhere. But they seem alive. For now, at least. Inside the Staples: empty. Except for Stenson, that is. A variety of office supplies are packaged and open for display. The location is quiet, except for a ravenous thudding in the back office. Jeb—it must be Jeb. Jeb was the one who’d bitten him, just before bashing his forehead into a Dell monitor—shrieking some curdled, choking noise sounding like spoiled milk sizzling in a microwave. The back office is barred from the outside with a stepladder and two rolls of Guerilla tape. The Staples smells like over-applied Windex, dust, and cardboard. What will Stenson do?