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"Rage Against The Low-Budget Claymation Studio" by Katie Baughman


I’m being deconstructed and reconstructed over and over again. It’s like my life pauses until I’m torn apart and then reassembled. Maybe with a new freckle on my shoulder, or four fingers, or a silly hat. Sometimes, I’m the same but the world around me is different. Tonight, the moon doesn’t come when it’s supposed to.


My father, the dictator, told me to never take things lying down. I don’t. I hang a moon-shaped paper plate above my garden, so the tomatoes don’t get confused. Then, I tally the things that changed in my notebook. I’m accumulating enough proof to take my case to the courts. The courts are always there: they seem to be a constant. Gathering proof is tricky, though. Sometimes, the notebook tallies vanish, and I have to start all over.


I run experiments in my garden. I read somewhere that a finger takes roughly the same force to bite into as a carrot. My hypothesis is that this is another constant. It rained today, so the carrots are exceptionally malleable. They still taste of clay. So does my pinky finger. I head inside.


This week, there are eight stairs leading up to my apartment. The week before, there were nine. When I went to notify my neighbors, they didn’t answer. I guess I looked like a door-to-door salesman, because sometimes that’s my day job. I left a note anyway. Today, there’s a no soliciting! sign where the note was. I can’t tell if this was from my neighbors or if it’s still the original note, reassembled. I add a tally. I think tomorrow I’ll go to court.


I decide to do a little reading before going to bed. I’m nearly through version five of The Iliad, and I’m trying to finish before it changes again. Mostly because L is a letter now, which adds a lot to the story. It’s hard to turn the pages with three fingers.


In the morning, my finger’s back. I wear a green suit, for court. I check the notebook on the walk across town. There are more tallies. Three or four pages full of them.


I reach the end of town, where the courts are. Except, the courts are gone. In their place is a big, empty pit. I guess they weren’t a constant. I pick up a rock to throw, and when I do, the rock squishes in my hands; clay. I throw it anyway. My notebook’s useless now, so I throw it too.

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