“You ever feel like your life is falling apart? Like something’s loose and if you sit down too fast the chair will just disappear out from under you?”

“Is there a chair you need help assembling?”

“No, no, I don’t think that’s quite it. It’s not a chair.”

“A shelf?”

“No, no. It’s something bigger.”

“A dining room table?”

“No, it’s not that. You know, I have dreams where the people don’t have faces. Where I go to work and my legs are made of felt and any time anyone gets near me, I know that I’m going to shock them. I want to look away, but I have to meet their eyes. I have to nod my head and curl the right side of my mouth and say hello, how’s your morning, and as soon as I’ve nodded I’m too close. There’s, there’s this big flash, and the boom comes three seconds later like lightning across a river, but they’re gone. Gone as soon as I’ve said hello. Those are my dreams—I’ve got a screw loose, I know it. Or maybe it’s bigger than that.”

“A bed?”

“A bed! No it’s not a bed, but that does bring me to another problem.”

“Is this also with regards to assembly issues, sir?”

“No, no. These are objects. The last guy I talked too wouldn’t take them seriously, but I whenever I pick up a mug, I worry the handle is going to fall off, and I’m going to spill my coffee all over myself. Not like in an embarrassing dick-shaped stain, but still, I’ll be embarrassed, and I’m just paralyzed by the fear.”

“The mugs feel… structurally unsound?”

“No, they feel fine when they’re empty. But as soon as I pour the coffee in them, the weight looks immense. I look at the surface, and I see under the reflection an infinite space, as though light can get trapped in there for hours. It’s like I’m looking into an infinitely large room and it’s full of coffee and it weighs so much.”

“Sir, I can’t help you if the mug feels solid and looks solid.”

“That’s what the last guy told me.”

“That’s all I can do.”

“Why can you only help me when things are broken!”

“I’m an IKEA sales representative, sir. That is my job.”


“If it’s not a bed, could it be an armoire?”

“Oh yeah, I think it was a vikedal.

—J. Eldred