An Excerpt From Marginalia by Jeremy Scott

The room is a small space. The walls are striped yellow. The desk is sandalwood painted orange, good to be burned if an offering is required. The curtains are made of spandex. The floor is shag, with a great Persian rug in the center with unholy geometries. Books fill the room where the author does not sit at his desk. The books range from Aeschylus to Zoology. The content varies, but all the author knows is that the books are killing him. The weight of the words is too much. He must exit the room somehow, but there is no door. The windows are bricked over. All there is for light is the spluttering fluorescents and his halogen desk lamp. He sleeps with a pillow of Gertrude Stein. His footrest is Lovecraft.

He wiles away the day typing, forgetting hunger, thirst, the need to smoke, all of which used to be what kept him going. Now he feasts on the words that he writes. No sooner do the words come flying from the typewriter do they enter into his ravenous maw. It is never enough to sustain him. He is emaciated.

His name was Jericho. He lived in a town outside the edge of Nowhere. Now he lives in his room, surrounded by his books, until he one day decides to die, or the words run out, whichever comes first. His room is past Nowhere, on the rim of Forever. The room was meant to be an escape, a magus’s tower from which he would cast the spell that would end the Universe. That spell was to made of spelling, of the words which he now must eat to survive. They fly off the typewriter and into his gibbering, gaping piehole where he digests the ink and creates light, bioluminescence.

The government stopped his spell. The spell did not work. His name is now Broken. He lives in a room that is a small space. The walls are striped yellow. He does not realize that the ceiling is made of tiles that could be popped out. The ceiling tiles are poppable. He does not realize this, yet he must, for the time that he tried to escape was through the ceiling. That was during a blackout when he was drunk on the ink from a heavy flow of verbiage. The ceiling is made of dust, compressed, decorated with little glow-in-the-dark stars to remind him of the Universe that he resides in.


            Sarah loved Jericho, but Jericho didn’t love Sarah. Sarah was a prostitute who had cybernetic implants placed in her by the government. Jericho knew this; he knew that she had Government Issue cybernetic implants that enhanced her bust size and her hearing capabilities. Jericho was a man who liked to whisper, mumble under his breath. Sarah was the one who would hear him. Jericho thought that their relationship was a mere transaction. Sarah loved Jericho, but didn’t understand why he had to leave for his room, the room that was a small space. She thought that Jericho should be in a large study, with books neat in bookcases, free and clear to leave at any time. Jericho disagreed. To spite her he locked the door to his room that had a door, but now doesn’t. The door never was unlocked. The government removed the door from the memory file of the room. Jericho forgot that there ever was a door.


            The author, known as Jericho, now Broken, wants to write a novel, but he can’t because he has to eat the words that he writes. So, one day, he decides to starve. He refuses to type and instead begins writing with his favorite pen, the pen that writes in his own blood, in the margins of the books that take up the space around his room. His novel will be called, Marginalia: A Novel in Fragments. Broken is incapable of sticking to a bourgeoisie narrative structure. He was raised by roaches and never had the opportunity to write in sentences long enough to entertain his foster parents. His backstory is tragic. We weep. We weep.


Marginalia will not be Broken’s first attempt at writing a novel. Jericho tried to destroy the Universe with his first novel. Marginalia will be a novel written in fragments, since he is Broken and that is all he can manage with his ink blood supply before he dries up like a raisin in the California sun.

Marginalia will be Broken’s only novel. Marginalia will kill Broken. He may or may not rise on the third day. The suspense will kill us. He will self-publish it if the government won’t allow him to leave the room. He knows he can put the novel into the margins of the books that populate the room and that will count to him as self-published. The reception will be standing ovations all around by the roaches that hide from the light. These are not the foster parent roaches. These are base, mean, vulgar roaches that want to eat the books that populate the room that is a small space with walls that are striped yellow. Broken cannot allow that and spends half the night killing them, thinking all the while of his foster parents and how they would be ashamed of this fruitless murdering.


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