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The Wave

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posted on May, 26 2004 @ 03:36 PM
I wrote this short story right before entering a very long period of being extremely ill & dealing with extreme weirdness & uncertainty. I always pictured the main character Baxter as looking like Fox Mulder. The narrator--it could be you. I dedicate this story to my friend MC -- and to the Future.


The Wave, by Cassie Clay

Baxter called me at his own convenience, as usual. It didn’t bother me. It was never worth getting worked up about. Besides, he was an interesting conversationalist...I can’t say he was a particularly good one, but he was always interesting. He had the capacity to introduce patently bizarre elements into the conversation without the slightest bit of worry that he was sounding like a complete lunatic. And I appreciated that, though I would never admit it to anyone–who could you admit something like that to, it sounds almost perverted.

Not that Baxter was a raving lunatic. He was pretty low-key, actually. His voice was so monotone, so low in pitch and unremarkable in timbre, that if it wasn’t for the subject matter I would have nodded off to dreamland–especially considering that his dialing hour of choice lay somewhere beyond where living mortals dare tread. He was crazy. I was an insomniac. I knew him for nearly four years.



“Hey Bax, how’re you doin’?”

“My computer is #ed.”


“Nah. Dead.”

“You sure?”

“It’s dead.”

“You try rebooting it?”

“It won’t reboot.”

“Is there a light?”

“There’s no light.”

“Maybe you can take it in somewhere...”

“Not worth it.”



“You got backup?”


“You had a lot of files on there?”

“Some. Some text...”

I could picture him standing in front of the phone, not sitting, hunched over, never sitting once. Probably wearing his grey sweat-pants that he put on not to scandalize the woman in the apartment across the street; no curtains, blinds broken. It’s hot; it’s a hot summer, and all he has is a fan by his bed. He’s sweltering in the living room, hunched over the phone. It takes a lot to get him away from the little white fan–and that would be the draw of my sparkling conversation.

“Text? Like stories?”

“Stories, premises...ideas. Journal entries. Erotic speculations. Movie lists. I had a movie quote list running. And photos.”

“Anything irreplaceable?”

“Nothing that can’t provide.”

“What about the writing?”

“I can’t let myself get upset about it.”

“Did you have hard copies?”

“I can’t let myself get upset about it. I’d go insane.”

“So you’re upset right now?”

“I can’t even open that door, Tom.”

I always pictured myself a Major Healey to his Anthony Nelson. I suppose Hack’s Jeannie.

“You gonna be all right?”




“You need me to come over?”

His house is a pig sty. He’ll say no.

“No, there’s no need...”

I don’t know what I’d do if he said ‘yes.’

“So you’re fine.”

“ know what it is, Tom?”


“What’s bugging me is: I don’t even feel upset really.”


“Yeah. I feel like I should feel upset over it, so I’m forcing it. But there’s no real reason to be upset. I didn’t write anything irreplaceable. In seven years, I haven’t written anything. I didn’t lose anything. Just some #.”

“You shouldn’t call it #, Bax. It’s just how you feel now.”

“No, it was #. Definitely #. # I wrote to impress people. And then they would look at it and say it was uninspired. And so I stopped writing altogether. Except for those times I wrote about not writing. And the erotic speculation.”

“Well, you need that...”

“Seven years and the only thing I’ve written from the heart was a fluff piece about Helen Mirren cleaning my’s the only thing I miss from the whole goddamn computer. That’s what I’m upset about, Tom.”

“Then you should write more.”

“I think so. This whole computer-breaking-down’s definitely a sign.”

And so we have no reached the point in the conversation where Baxter talks about Signs.

“You think so?”

“It’s obvious. It’s just one of a string of signs that was so #ing painfully obvious and clear. Computer=my brain, my intellect. Wasted. Filled with crap that has nothing to do with who I really am. And so the machine–my psyche–goes, ‘reject.’ Abort. Start over.”

“Maybe it was just an old computer that just broke down.”

“Computers don’t just ‘break down’, Tom.”


“It’s too important an event. I’ve got to make a change in my life. If I don’t, this whole house will probably burn down due to faulty electrical wiring, because the Universe wants my attention & is going to raise the stakes until I hear it.”

“So you’re going to buy a new computer?”

“Tomorrow, if at all possible.”


“Has to be.”

“And you’re not going to try to get this fixed?”


“You know, it might be fixable.”

“I’d be disappointed if it was. I’d be heartbroken.”

“So you want this computer to be dead?”

“I would say ‘want’ is an exaggeration. But now that it’s here, I’m ok with it. I can’t say I’m unhappy. I almost feel a little giddy.”

In my mind I could see his normally expressionless face curl slightly into an adolescent’s smile. One socked foot stroking the other it was resting upon.

“Excited about your new computer, huh?”


“You should have your computer die every week. I should be so lucky as you.”

“That reminds me, Tom.”


“I dreamt about you last night.”

Along with signs, Baxter was also quite the dream buff. And not reluctant to share. It was here where things really got kooky. His dream narratives and subsequent interpretations would be the punchline to my day. You could hear the wheels wail as he took that sharp left turn. In monotone.

“What about?”

“I dreamt that you opened up the door to your bathroom, and this big salty wave hit you. It was big as the whole door.”

“Sea or freshwater?”

“I said it was salty.”

“Were there fish?”

“It was an exact sampling of water from the sea, so I think there was.”


“Seahorses. Starfish. Mostly water. The wave was impressive. It knocked you over.”

“Well of course it knocked me over, it was a surprise attack. It was my bathroom, after all.”

“I’m not faulting you for getting knocked over, Tom.”


“So that was my dream, anyway.”

“Were there boats? Steamships? Aircraft carriers?”

“No foreign objects. Not even a buoy.”



“So what happened to me after I got hit by the wave?”

“Nothing happened, that was it.”

“But what was my reaction?”

“There was no reaction that I could make out...I couldn’t see your face. You were engulfed.”

“So I just drowned, huh?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t see the end.”

“Was it a pocket of water that just emptied out when I opened the door?”

“It was the whole Atlantic Ocean.”


“Is there anything in your personal life that’s bothering you, Tom?”

“Nope. Why do you ask?”

“Because it felt...big. It was a Big Dream, it felt like. Like the Aborigines say.”

“And so this dream that you had somehow effects me?”

“Not ‘effects’, really...more like a DVD commentary track, if I was watching your DVD.”

“My DVD only has commentary from me, Bax. And I dream about Jennifer Lopez. It’s impossible for you to put commentary on my DVD. You can’t even watch my DVD. Because it’s in my skull.”

“So what are you saying?”

I could have blown it all open right there, just confronted him on all his crazy theories and suggestions. Maybe it would have done him a service–but I didn’t want an enemy. And I didn’t want him to wake up and realize he just lost at least a grand on a computer that ‘#’ or not, had documents on it he will never see again. If his delusions gave him peace, what right did I have to take it away from him?

“Who knows, Bax? Who knows?”


“Yeah. Well, I gotta take a piss. Talk to you later?”

“I’ll give you a call.”



And then I opened my bathroom door and the wave hit me.


posted on May, 26 2004 @ 03:56 PM
exellent story! can you please send me a copy? Great, origional ideas... makes up a great story.

posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 09:25 PM
Very odd but very good at the same time.

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