Non-Medical Descriptions of an Object Floating in Glass


Boy as brother, obviously.

Boy as character, as protagonist. As antagonist, perhaps.

Boy with birth and death dates the same.

Boy as someone who lived, no matter how briefly.

Boy as the occupant of the jar.

Boy as host and as parasite.

Boy as involuntary suicide, emptying himself into his brother’s still heart.

Boy as the only thing in the jar that ever lived.

Boy as the first thing you smell when you walk into the room.

Boy as twin, as half of a two, as all that remains.

Boy as specimen.

Boy as spectacle.

Boy as keeper of the wheel, karmic or otherwise.

Boy as depository of memories.

Boy as discovered and uncovered.

Boy as guide, showing you the way.

Boy as murderer, if necessary.

Boy as messenger.

Boy as prophet.

Boy as inventor.

Boy as scavenger of broken parts, building a reincarnation radio inside his skull.

Boy as beacon, as sign, as alarm, as distress signal.

Boy as radio operator.

Boy as ageless transmitter.

Boy as repository.

Boy as totem.

Boy as relic.

Boy as oddity.

Boy as collectible.

Boy as object to be desired.

Boy as X marks the spot.

Boy as call sign, repeating in the dark.

Boy as son, brother.

Boy as legend, as myth.

Boy as formaldehyde phylactery.

Boy as the one who wants to live forever.

Boy as the analog duplication of genes.

Boy as imprecise measurement.

Boy as memory made physical and kept from rotting by thick yellow fluid.

Boy as the only one who remembers the gas mask, the Ferris wheel on fire, the scalpels applied to joins and the many mothers crying.

Boy as connective tissue, in a metaphysical sense.

Boy as lich, as devil, as witchcraft, as abomination.

Boy as magic.

Boy as lover, who loves her most, who loves her best, who loves her still.

Boy as potential energy, as fleshy psychic battery.

Boy as need, as desire, as the thing that must be acquired.

Boy as tool.

Boy as key.

Boy as spark.

Boy as beam of white light.

Boy without beginning, without end.

Boy as forever.

Boy as axis.

Boy as covenant.

Boy as Ark.

Matt Bell lives in Ann Arbor, MI, with his wife Jessica. His writing has appeared recently in Hobart, Barrelhouse, Monkeybicycle, Keyhole, and Best American Fantasy 2008. He can be found online at