Stuart Ross ~ The Zionists

The new­ly­weds laze on their sec­tion­al, watch­ing sea­son eleven of Jewish Drama.

The hus­band hides mar­i­jua­na in his shoes, but why, dope is legal.

At Target they buy every­thing that’s not on their list—guns, because Target doesn’t sell guns, Target doesn’t even sell arrows.

They buy in the for­mer inner-city, a duplex down with a curb­side mag­no­lia that blooms at the first whipcrack of spring. They have sac­ri­ficed good pub­lic schools—because they would nev­er think of send­ing their missed peri­ods to pub­lic schools—for a high walk­a­bil­i­ty score, the revi­tal­ized river­walk just beyond their mezuzah.

Why does soy ice cream melt not at all, and then disappear?


The hus­band man­ages an Oakland prop­er­ty gift­ed from his father-in-law, a crum­bling charm he rents to UC-Berkeley pro­fes­sors who want a new microwave.

If we have to buy the microwave our­selves,” the anar­chists threat­en, “we’re tak­ing it with us when we leave.”

The hus­band puts them on speak­er, says, “I think you’re for­get­ting what Marx says about leav­ing-with-the-microwave at the close of Capital Volume II.”

You fly­over bougie piece of shit.”

Wow,” the wife says, “bour­geois hap­pi­ness doesn’t only mean can­cer treat­ments, porn addic­tion, overfed house­cats, and over­priced hol­i­day cards. No new microwave for you.”

When the pro­fes­sors are late with the rent, the wife demands that the hus­band place a call to the Oakland PD, so that the pro­fes­sors don’t lose their place in the econ­o­my they so rav­ish­ing­ly critique.

That’s what her father would do.


The hus­band seeks an infer­til­i­ty doc­tor who looks Ukrainian, because the breakup of the Soviet Union coars­ened his porn.

The doctor’s office is a mater­nal, gen­er­a­tive space. The light­ing con­ceives a sul­try mood: lamps, not over­head flu­o­res­cents, shine on the death met­al fonts of the diplo­mas, on the Lemon Zinger Keurig cups. On the walls hang pho­tos of chil­dren, and sten­cils of moth­ers and their wards singing mélodies at the pianoforte.

The hus­band scoops up a pho­to from the desk, triplets dressed in bum­ble­bee costumes.

Yours, we presume.”

My sweets,” the doc­tor says.

So beau­ti­ful,” the wife says with horror.


In a tax year of tremen­dous gain, the hus­band shields his stock mar­ket win­nings by claim­ing a loss against his rental properties.

Everything is enjoy­ing explo­sive yet cir­cuitous growth, but that doesn’t mean he feels safe, or any­thing: a lit­tle over a few mil­lion doesn’t mean a man’s all set.


The wife keeps her Gold Coast con­do, because some­times she likes to go to there and read essays about how white trans peo­ple, too, are aware of their white privilege.

Maybe one day she’d like to con­duct a cis het affair, here, in what is now, she real­izes, a pied-à-terre, even though that’s so de rigueur.

Would that make me a cuck?” The hus­bands asks. “Or would that make us poly?”

I don’t want to be poly,” the wife says. “That’s for losers on the internet.”

The wife relax­es on a faint­ing couch that nev­er leaves her shop­ping cart.

And she looks up from her transphilic essays to gaze upon her condo’s panoram­ic view of Lake Michigan. Sunlight on the ocean­ic lake puts her in mind of her first abor­tion­ist, and her abor­tion­ists there­after, and how she now yearns for a bum­ble­bee (only one bum­ble­bee) of her own.

But when she gets her peri­od, she has time to think.

And she thinks: what’s wrong with me?


Well, no,” the doc­tor says. “Up there in age has got­ten old­er and old­er these days. Based on your test results, you’re both in a good posi­tion to con­ceive a child naturally.”

We’re usu­al­ly try from unnat­ur­al positions.”

Forgive my hus­band. What did your ex-wife used to call it? My hus­band has a seri­ous con­di­tion. Woody Allen disease.”


Oh no, no. At least, I don’t think so. I meant not being able to stop crack­ing jokes. He makes these jokes to deflect from his irrel­e­van­cy to our cul­ture. Luckily I am just like him…”

…it’s a big rea­son we fell in love…”

…but I am a beau­ti­ful woman with high tits, where­as my hus­band is just a man.”

You are strik­ing,” the doc­tor says.

We’re veg­ans.”


Is that it? Do you think we’re not get­ting enough whole­some ani­mal pro­tein to con­ceive? Is it the B‑12, doctor?”

No, it’s not the B‑12.”

Maybe it’s the alco­hol,” the hus­band sug­gests to the wife.

No, no, my moth­er had no issues with me.”

Medically,” the doc­tor inter­rupts, “I think it’s going to hap­pen for you two. Very soon. But if you want to help it along, these are the steps we could take.”

Medical steps,” the hus­band says, mak­ing steps with a karate chop.

Yes, med­ical steps,” the doc­tor nods, and she com­mences dia­gram­ming the couple’s options, on a Nexplanon notepad, with a NuvaRing pen.


Those in pow­er love to say progress isn’t easy,” the wife says at the Target. “But why isn’t progress easy? Progress should be sim­ple for the most pow­er­ful per­son in the world. Why didn’t you do the hard work of progress, Obama, so the rest of us could relax.”

You real­ize what you sound like,” the hus­band says at break­fast, toast­ing an Up & Up waf­fle. “Like Obama was our slave? And he should work hard­er for us?”

That’s not what I sound like,” the wife says at din­ner, uncork­ing anoth­er bot­tle of bur­gundy. “Liberals think we can’t be smart. Because we’re Republicans.”

We’re not Republicans,” the hus­band says at the car wash, where he pays extra to simo­nize, extra for the wheel bath. “You mean we’re fis­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive, but cul­tur­al­ly liberal?”

Culture,” the wife says, for­get­ting to tip her pedi­curist, “is the only fis­cal responsibility.”

So we have to love Israel now, too?” the hus­band asks while they’re watch­ing sea­son twelve of Jewish Drama.

They mean they hate Jews,” the wife says, slather­ing a pita with hum­mus. “They don’t like life insur­ance sales­men arriv­ing at their fam­i­ly slaugh­ter­hous­es and telling them what to do with their trac­tor inher­i­tance. They don’t want rad­i­cal Jewish women teach­ing their child labor­ers to be veg­e­tar­i­ans; Jewish women who wouldn’t know the first thing about how killing a deer hurts the white hunter more than it hurts the black doe.”

I saw this arti­cle yes­ter­day,” the hus­band says, Earth Balancing his toast, “about a Jewish woman just like that. It was the first time a lib­er­al veg­e­tar­i­an like her from South Brooklyn…”

…where is South Brooklyn?”

…I think Virginia, you know, DC sub­urbs. Anyway it was the first time she’d killed her own pig, and then she ate the pig and final­ly under­stood the Emotional Problems of White Butchers. She’s not sure if she’s going to stop being a veg­e­tar­i­an, but the vis­cer­al expe­ri­ence real­ly gave her some­thing to chew on.”

You know what Emerson wrote,” the wife says, telling the hus­band he can come up.

No, what did Emerson write?” the hus­band asks, hid­ing more weed in his Birkenstocks. The wife pulls down The History of White People and reads: ‘Race is a con­trol­ling influ­ence in the Jew, who, for two mil­len­ni­ums, under every cli­mate, has pre­served the same char­ac­ter and employments.’”

That’s pret­ty good. That book is called the his­to­ry of white peo­ple, huh. Like those the his­to­ry of salt books.”

I’ve read all of these his­to­ries,” the wife glances back, dis­gust­ed. “Reading books about anti-racism has only made me more racist.”

This is going to be so great,” the hus­band says, unwrap­ping the 30th anniver­sary edi­tion Blu-Ray.

Liberals look at me and think I can’t love Carl Nielsen because I’m Republican,” the wife says at the Subaru deal­er­ship. “Liberals think you can’t lis­ten to Nielsen’s organ music and be pro-life.”

You’ve had many abor­tions, hon­ey,” the hus­band reminds her, key­less­ly enter­ing their new hatch­back, the per­fect tran­si­tion vehi­cle from being a hap­py cou­ple to hav­ing one eldest. “Not that I don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose up to and until the bun­dle of joy enters Montessori.”

Not from the government’s clamps,” the wife says, pow­er­ing the romaine hearts through the arti­fi­cial­ly intel­li­gent sal­ad spinner.

No, yeah. I see what you mean,” the hus­band says, try­ing to force 0.5mm lead into an 0.3mm mechan­i­cal pencil.

Why would we care about the greater soci­ety?” the wife asks, writ­ing a check to Puppies in Crisis. “No greater soci­ety lives in our home.”


They try as much as the wife can stand it, as much as the hus­band can stand up. They try twice in one night, like school­child­ren, before sec­ond sleep on Sunday morn­ings, on mid­week sick day after­noons, on the steps of Buckingham Fountain and a dive break­fast of High Life chasers and sog­gy pret­zel rods try try like mas­ter and slave, bare­backed run­aways, they try like return­ing champions.

They try dur­ing Mel Gibson’s All Black Othello with Denzel as Othello, Taraji P. Henson as Desdemona, Michael B. Jordan as Iago, a strik­ing Viola Davis as Cassio, Cardi B. as Emilia, and the roles of all first gen­tle­men played by Ethan Hawk, all sec­ond gen­tle­man played by Tom Cruise.

What are you read­ing on your phone? Is it the same thing you sent to my tablet?”

Just an arti­cle about how the social­ists of the Snapchat gen­er­a­tion want free high speed rail, but aren’t ready to admit Karl Marx was an accom­plished Victorian gardener.”

Marx was born into a wealthy fam­i­ly, you know. Like the rest of the com­mu­nists. Did you know Maryland is named after a virgin?”

Uh-huh. Virginia, too, means virgin.”

Oh that’s right. ‘Come out, Virginia’ … of course.”


They try before the finale of sea­son thir­teen of Jewish Drama.

Oh my God,” the wife says to the TV. “Get off me. It’s happening.”

America’s favorite Jews have dri­ven in sep­a­rate Audis to those near-city recre­ation­al areas that are such a draw for Americans who can afford a west coast lifestyle. And now they stand atop a stun­ning Sierra peak, apply­ing SPF50 to their olive-skinned faces.

I bet you Nate uses under eye serum. For that ten­der part of his gaze.”

Quiet. I’ve been wait­ing for this.”

Can you fin­ish me off while we watch it?”



There are a mil­lion Ukrainian teens in your phone, ask them to fin­ish you off.”

Remind me what hap­pened last episode.”

Nate explained to Josh M. how his num­bers were direc­tion­al­ly cor­rect. Later that night, Josh C. and Nate had din­ner at a WeHo bistro that Josh C. got to pick.”

Oh yeah, yeah. And they wres­tled over whether Nate should reim­burse Josh B. via cash app or with cash. ‘I think that’s right,’ Josh M. had said. ‘Nobody uses cash any­more.’ And Nate won­dered if that was true. He was going to put a poll in the field. Now I remember.”

The white American Jews climb the Indian moun­tain. Our Ashkenazi recre­ators wear mois­ture-wick­ing base lay­ers designed in California, sewn in Vietnam; Italian-made polar­ized sun­glass­es framed in China. Just a few min­utes before the ascent they’d got­ten stoned on legal Gorilla Glue, pur­chased from a lean-to dope phar­ma­cy in the foothills, and named after Joan Didion’s late daughter.

Gabi tells every­one to hush and take in the no-fil­ter scenery.

Jess, who has just gone through her fourth round of IVF because Gabi’s per­son­al train­er turned out to be infer­tile, asks a ran­do white Christian man to take a leap­ing pho­to of the whole gang.

The Christian man says, I’d love to, but when I take pho­tos for Jews, I charge by the person.

Isaac M. says, what is your per-per­son fee, maybe we can work some­thing out the ben­e­fits all parties.

The white Christian guy says, I’m only kid­ding, dude, I’m not going to charge you to take a pho­to­graph with yourcam­era. I’ll snap a few and then you guys let me know how they came out, okay? And if you need me to, I can take a few more.

Rebecca, who is wait­ing to hear back if she got the Chief Giving Officer post at Amazon, says, great, that sounds good, but we would’ve been hap­py to nego­ti­ate with you if you did, indeed, charge a fee.

Bashful Aaron gives the white Christian his camera.

America’s favorite Jews leap for the photo.

And while they’re in mid-air, the finale hap­pens: the white Christian man with Aaron’s cam­era is actu­al­ly the White Christian Terrorist with Emotional Problems who has been fol­low­ing the gang since sea­son four.

Instead of tak­ing the pic­ture, we hear a boom.

The cred­its roll up the moun­tain, with a famil­iar sound­ing indie rock tune that nobody can quite place.

That was so good,” the wife says. “I can’t believe Josh C., Josh M., and Josh B. are gone.”

They can’t be gone. Josh C. and Josh M. and Josh B. are the whole show. Nate can die, but not the Joshes. The writ­ers have their work cut out for them but the writ­ers will fig­ure it out because the writ­ers have noth­ing bet­ter to do than make up bull­shit like this.”

Refill, please,” the wife says, swing­ing her glass.

But ulti­mate­ly,” the hus­band says, tak­ing a CD out of a jew­el case and look­ing at it like it once did some­thing use­ful, “the cause of liv­ing in the Jewish past is dying right in front of us. Who cares if Rebecca and Aaron can have a baby? I want to puke spend­ing just five min­utes with Becca and Aaron. Try as they might to stay hip, the con­tem­po­rary ref­er­ences flow­ing out of their mouths already sound like ancient his­to­ry. And that’s not even because of the mighty col­lec­tive text being writ­ten on the inter­net, I mean, even with­out that, these peo­ple would still blow. Who cares if they find American his­to­ry incon­ceiv­able. The incon­ceiv­abil­i­ty of American his­to­ry is its lead­ing fea­ture. Maybe they’ll have their baby, maybe they won’t, we’ll still root for their divorce. Can you imag­ine how nau­se­at­ing it will be in sea­son four­teen to see them pet­ting lit­tle Ben? We’ll have to suf­fer the episode where they agree cir­cum­ci­sion is cru­el. And then we’ll have to suf­fer the episode where they join the insane­ly lib­er­al tem­ple so they can per­form a metaphor­i­cal bris before hav­ing an after­par­ty at an aver­age Italian-Chinese fusion restau­rant, and Samuel will be back from Brown, where he took an entire 300-lev­el course about how American Chinese food is racist, and he’ll tell every­body about it, and Nana will say oh qui­et Samuel eat your snow peas, remem­ber, when you were a nice lit­tle boy with no opin­ions, you didn’t used to like snow peas … our tastes can change … oh my God I have only one ques­tion for the Caitlyn, Nate, Becca, Gabi and Jess…”

…Gabi and Jess will sure­ly adopt now.”

…Aaron and lit­tle Ben. What does it feel like to be yet anoth­er impair­ment upon the time­line of suprema­cy and oppression?”

Would it both­er you,” the wife asks, “if I answer your ques­tion with a question?”

No, of course not. Our peo­ple expect noth­ing less.”

Is sea­son four­teen out yet?”


The hus­band vis­its his for­mer rab­bi, and con­fess­es that dur­ing wed­ding pic­tures at Trump International, he had to do a dou­ble take, because the let­ters T R U M P turned into E G Y P T. What is that, again, how Egypt means emo­tion­al strait­jack­ets, and does this have any­thing to do with the strate­gic impor­tance of the strait of Hormuz?

The rab­bi says, “in some ulti­mate sense, every place is Egypt. How are the linens?”

Luxurious. And they have a hid­den veg­an menu.”

I imag­ine it’s very heavy,” the rab­bi says.

Well,” the hus­band blush­es, “it’s ketchup.”


American soil riots flood their phones and they even some­times hear the riot­ing in their own streets, a few blocks beyond their gold mezuzah.

We should buy guns here,” the wife says at Home Depot.

Absolutely not,” the hus­band says at Loews. “We are peo­ple of the book.”

That’s just what we tell the Palestinians. This is why I was scared about liv­ing on the first floor. Let’s put out one of those signs out front so they pass over us.”

The cou­ple stake a Black Lives Matter sign below their magnolia.

In their duplex down bed­room, they see the sign when they wake up.

Upstairs, they see only their racial­ly-charged tree.


Chicago’s #1 Storm Team reminds Chicagoans across Chicagoland that we did get an ear­ly snow last year, and we did get a late snow last year, too.

The snow comes down over the social­ized med­i­cine Canadians, across the pros­per­i­ty gospel plains.

The cou­ple keep watch­ing, sup­port­ing local business.

The snow cov­er­age has got­ten real­ly good.


Can you just tell us which steps would work for us?” the wife asks the patient doc­tor. “I’m not a visu­al thinker.”

Any of them might work.”

It has to be me,” the hus­band says.

No, it doesn’t have to be you. It doesn’t have to be any­one. You’re both per­fect­ly fine.”

You sure I’m fine?”

You passed,” the doc­tor paus­es, “eight sperm tests.”

He thinks he was ovu­lat­ing on the fifth, and it skew­ered all the results.”

More than even that,” the hus­band flares up, “I think I might be too woke to insem­i­nate any­one. I’ve seen footage. Read arti­cles. My brain is one tremen­dous essay about why the world doesn’t need more peo­ple like me. For that rea­son, if no oth­er, Judah has a right to defend itself. I know all about the mys­te­ri­ous decline in White America’s sperm counts, due to the non-mys­te­ri­ous use of plas­tics by white and non-white Americans alike. I’ve read exquis­ite Jewish nov­els about glum transper­son­al pro­fes­sors who trans­form Dolores Haze into a plat­ed octo­pus they want to screw more than their friend, who is a girl, but not their girlfriend.”

It’s a beau­ti­ful book,” the wife says. “Hopefully in treatment.”

I’m so sor­ry to hear that,” the doc­tor says.

Haven’t Jewish nov­els,” the hus­band con­tin­ues, “ruined my poten­cy more than plas­tics? Because the col­lapse of the Soviet Union has cer­tain­ty ruined my porn. No offense.”

None tak­en.”

I mean, we all know you’re Ukrainian.”

Please, con­tin­ue.”

For months I’ve been this charm­ing ejac­u­lat­ing man, nut­ting Coenzyme-q10-for­ti­fied seed into her folate-for­ti­fied womb, pills I then crush into her pow­dered magnesium…”

…pulpy, the way I like it…”

…late into the evening I rewatch Season 1 of Law & Order. A baby-cheeked Cynthia Nixon is read her Miranda rights by a baby-cheeked Chris Noth. I under­stand all of those ref­er­ences, doc­tor. Hasn’t that ruined my poten­cy? I mean, I am obsessed with American slav­ery movies. I watch them every Passover, right after The Ten Commandments. I fast-for­ward to the his­tor­i­cal white-on-black vio­lence. And I fre­quent­ly mas­tur­bate into no-show socks.”

What my hus­band is try­ing to say, doc­tor, is that it’s snowed so much this win­ter, our Black Lives Matter sign only says Black.”

What my wife is try­ing to say, doc­tor, is that aren’t we the real mystery?”

No,” the doc­tor says sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly. “You are not the mystery.”


In order to keep fight­ing the com­put­er, they keep read­ing the com­put­er, because the com­put­er keeps writing.

The com­put­er isn’t scared of riots.

The com­put­er fears nothing.

The com­put­er is an elec­tron­ic fireplace.

The com­put­er doesn’t have infer­til­i­ty issues, oh, quite the contrary.

The com­put­er knows they’ve nev­er been to Coachella.

The com­put­er has nev­er declined a cookie.

The com­put­er knows it snowed this ear­ly last year.

The com­put­er is an obso­lete word.


Did you fill out the sur­vey for the poor ser­vice we got at Banana?”

No, I don’t want to get any­one fired.”

I’ll do it, then. I won’t tol­er­ate that kind of tongue-click­ing when I’m at Banana. She should take that sass to Old Navy.”


Then delay treat­ment. And if you don’t mind me putting it this way, fall in love with each oth­er again. Renew your vows. Or do some­thing out of the ordi­nary. Take a trip.”

We’ve tak­en so many trips.”

Take anoth­er. Bön voy­age. A cruise to Japan! Go where you’ve nev­er gone before.”

No I don’t want to go to Nepal.”


Certainly not.”

Who says no to Bhutan? Blue sheep, rhodo­den­drons, yaks.”

I’d rather switch to dogs than go to Bhutan. But doc­tor,” the wife con­tin­ues, with insur­ance-claim-seri­ous­ness, “should we go vis­it friends with babies, to see what we’re miss­ing? Treat our­selves to an epiphany?”

Absolutely not,” the hus­band says. “We don’t have any friends. So it’s impos­si­ble for us to learn some­thing about ourselves.”


They try in Rome, Athens, Barcelona, and Miami in the rain. They try dur­ing the jump cuts of a sold-out Godard ret­ro­spec­tive, at the invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ty in the Smokies, the Breck ski-in, ski-out, on the heat­ed floors of an Appalachian glam­per, in the can­dlelit cabanas of a pri­vate Mexican beach.

Take me to Tokyo,” the wife says.

My God, babe, what are we run­ning away from? Let’s staycation.”

They climb into their child­less hatch­back and dri­ve through the nature pre­serves across the west­ern sub­urbs. They skate the snowy bogs, seek sex­u­al cov­er in the savan­nah, brush their sore gen­i­tals against the tall and prick­ly prairie grass. They dri­ve a lit­tle bit far­ther and stay in the hick vil­las beyond the bor­der towns that once cart­ed slaves from Kentucky to work the salt mines near Equality, Illinois. They try on a mean­der­ing road trip through the drift­less area of Wisconsin, an area of deep green hills only min­utes from the side hus­tles of the Mississippi.

The hus­band reads from his iPhone that the German-ish set­tlers who arrived here after Black Hawk’s defeat brought their cows with them, rebrand­ing Wisconsin America’s Dairy Land. And Wisconsin kept on inno­vat­ing, embrac­ing more and more piti­ful sides of its nat­ur­al wealth. For exam­ple, in this decade, the state has rebrand­ed for frack­ing. There’s no oil in Wisconsin, not even close, but white Wisconsin sand gets freight­ed to Texas, to be used in frack­ing oper­a­tions down there in the fierce­ly inde­pen­dent Lone Star state. And this is the insan­i­ty of the American desert, cart­ing sand for the mak­ing of oil to a place that already has its own sand, to bury your strikes in the sand over there, as Moses buried the Egyptian.

Does it say that last part on Wikipedia?” the wife asks.

No but I bet it’s in the sug­ges­tions for fur­ther read­ing,” the hus­band says, and the cou­ple dis­cuss all of this and even more as they dri­ve over the blind hills and down the sight­ed hills, see­ing cows graz­ing the road­side like lolling cubi­cle drones spend­ing their idyl­lic free range days await­ing death on Slaughterhouse Road, await­ing death by stuff­ing them­selves with corn chips grown to feed the cows they are Wisconsin’s pride, these cows grown to feed the city peo­ple who will eat any old cow to prove to them­selves that even though they have high-speed inter­net, which they don’t have out here on rur­al Twitter, they are still men.

Almond milk threat­ens the liveli­hoods of these Americans,” the hus­band says.

I want to hand all of these cows a car­ton of almond milk,” the wife says, her high-arched foot twin­kling on the dash. “Tell them we’ve dis­cov­ered a bet­ter way.”

You want to stir up the labor force,” the hus­band says, as he turns onto a sort-of-main-road and reads a bill­board that says 83% of dri­vers look at billboards.

Take my hand, not my life,” the wife reads off the next bill­board, which shows two new­borns reach­ing their hands out into the road. “At this point I’d be hap­py to be in a posi­tion to choose an abortion.”

I told you, I’ve got­ten women preg­nant before.”

Not this woman. I think you should have your sperm test­ed again.”

Children are chil­dren, they aren’t choic­es. If you want choic­es, Cracker Barrel’s just down the road.”


What would you have me say?” the doc­tor begins.

That I’ve laid out all the options.

You could have pro­ce­dures, you could not.

What else do you need to hear?

That you two deserve each other.

That you are unbe­liev­able, yet all too real.

That you are both the flesh equiv­a­lents of unlike­able characters.

That you two are no longer charm­ing, not near­ly as offen­sive as you think you are, racists, and irrel­e­vant to our culture.

But you know what’s funny?

I mean, do you know what’s dead serious?

You’ve got all the bombs.

And you, after you are a moth­er, will begin a juice fast and return to your fab­u­lous pre-baby weight in no time at all.

And you, after you are a father, will quick­ly real­ize you need to reduce your chil­drea­r­ing respon­si­bil­i­ties, and you will sud­den­ly care very much about what­ev­er high-pay­ing cor­po­rate wel­fare job you care so lit­tle for now.

But it won’t be all bad.

It can nev­er be all bad for peo­ple like the two of you.

As the world burns around you, the two of you, and your beau­ti­ful child, the three of you, will be fireproof.

Perhaps tonight, you will go home, and con­ceive your for­tu­nate child.

And when you have this child, the both of you will smile more, laugh more, your jaws will hurt from smil­ing, your shoul­ders ache from lifting.

Even though the both of you will find a way to remain purposeless.

Because with­out pur­pose­less­ness, you have no rea­son to live.”


The wi-fi is super slow in the updat­ed yet rus­tic cabin.

The cou­ple leave the cab­in and stand in front of the owner’s house, scream­ing, “more pow­er, more pow­er, more power!”

The care­tak­er steps out of her house, the wind sweep­ing her rust-col­ored hair and the rust-cov­ered wind­chimes. “I got your emails and your text mes­sages,” she says. “If you could just show a lit­tle patience and try restart­ing the router.”

Fuck that,” the hus­band says. “I know the wi-fi is faster in your house.”

It says in the rental agree­ment, the rental agree­ment you e‑signed, that we aren’t respon­si­ble for the speed of the wi-fi.”

Look, lady, I’m not a polit­i­cal crea­ture by nature, I just want your alt pass­word. I see the net­work, I see the lock, you’ve even got an exten­der, I know it’s there.”

The caretaker’s son appears with a shotgun.

The city folks want their wi-fi, huh. No wi-fi, no tweets, no life!”

I told you we should’ve bought arrows at Target!”

The son pulls the shot­gun, says, “Harvard swine!”

Come on,” the hus­band says. “I was edu­cat­ed in the city schools and I will nev­er let you for­get it!”

I went to Bard,” the wife says, “and it wasn’t a big deal! Please don’t hurt us.”

The care­tak­er pats her son’s butt inside, and the hus­band resumes his pleas. “I am a patient man, I am an ally, but I swear to you, there is some­thing wrong with the wi-fi. My con­tacts won’t load.”

The care­tak­er places her hands on her hips and says, “maybe nobody’s try­ing to con­tact you.”


If you tip this creep, we’re through. When I give a ‘hel­lo’ to my air­port valet, I want to receive an ‘hel­lo’ back. If every­one gives every­one five stars, the rat­ings mean nothing.”

The hus­band lies to his wife, and leaves, through the bug­gy third-par­ty app, an accu­rate tip.

And the dif­fer­ence spreads, through its micro­fi­nanc­ing sur­vey­ors, into the immi­grant advo­ca­cy fund.


Stuart M. Ross is the author of the nov­el Jenny in Corona (Tortoise Books, 2019) — fol­low his work @myskypager.