The Topic At Hand:

Lost and Found

There’s a reason we don’t say “found and lost.” It’s depressing.

When we lose something — a possession, a lover, a friend, a god, a name — we want to believe that we’ll get it (or him or her) back. So we assign it a word that indicates its eventual return, rather than its current position. Something that is called “lost” is noted more for where it ought to be, than for where it actually is.

The boxes of mismatched items (gloves, hats, phones, wallets, keys) that sit behind retail counters would be more properly labeled simply “lost.” Any given item sitting in them has only been “found” in the sense that some other person has brought it back in contact with humanity, and validated its relationship to someone else, even though they have no idea who that person is.

In this issue:
Security cameras (and insecure people).
Troubling dreams (while asleep, and while awake).
Cleaning house literally and figuratively (at the same time).
Biological and personal evolution (juxtaposed).
Religious conversion (and unconversion).
Friendly reminders (from the dead).
Hopes and fears (lost And found).

Featured Contributors

Rare Groove: Breaking it Down
Essay & Film

The sight of a woman undressing no longer interests Jim. After eight years of watching the security monitors at a certain Midtown women’s clothing store, Jim has seen every state of undress, every awkward position: crouching, leaning, squeezing, sliding in and out of skirts, pants, shirts, dresses, bras. Everything, except what he expected when he took the job. Never has a leggy blonde, or exotic, swollen-lipped brunette, slipped off her shirt to reveal a transparent camisole, cupped her breasts one in each hand and felt their full weight without a bra to collect them in a proper place. Not once has a woman looked up to the camera, noticed the security eye gazing down at her, opened her eyes wide in shock then contracted them in a dirty stare, smiled a wicked proposition and mouthed very slowly, Hi Jim. How’s it going?


The basement is almost finished. When I bought the house, the basement appointments were High Seventies: chocolate paneling; shag carpet, not only wall to wall but wrapped around the one otherwise exposed support column; high school tile for ceiling and part of the floor; the unpaneled walls painted and papered in mustard and tangerine. The shag was stippled in those colors, accented with cream and more chocolate. The all-weather carpet on the stairs leading down to the basement picks up only the darker of these colors, looking rather like a wet tiger skin run through a blender.

It’s not only almost finished, it’s almost an inverse loft. It has the sink, cupboards and cabinet to make a kitchen, and it has a half-bath.

Left Behind

When I was eight, we moved to the suburbs and into a big, creaky, beige house. I got my own room, with my own walls on which I painted a giant rainbow above my bed (a move that I was to regret when I hit my teens, though not as much as my brother was to regret the rainforest wallpaper that he chose for his). We had a big yard where the neighborhood kids and I regularly smacked each other in the head with a tetherball and where I convinced the younger/gullible ones to act in brilliant super-8 melodramas — as well as blocks of adjoining yards that we also claimed as our territory, and quiet streets on which I finally learned to ride a bike. These were something of a contrast to the streets of my former ‘hood, Newark, where my dad had once been jumped while walking with me and my mother and brother by two guys who stole all of his Rolaids (like any native New Yorker, he never kept money in his back pockets).

Love Will Find A Way

You read a lot of stories about conversion—St. Paul, St. Augustine, and countless others in the Christian tradition. You don’t come across that many unconversion stories. Perhaps the unconvert lacks fervor in her new non-faith. Perhaps he is embarrassed or wants to leave the gate open for a future return to the fold. Or perhaps the unconvert, by virtue of losing a formerly found faith, recognizes the uncertainty, the potential mutability, of all spiritual states.

I certainly fit into the last category, having found and lost faith so many times over the course of my life that I might liken it to a quartan fever that seizes me in its sweaty arms every few years, only to chill, eventually, in the face of reason or my own stubbornness. When I was 14, following a year of sincere commitment to my Methodist church

I am smoking a cigarette when She tells me about Tiktaalik. She is miles away but her voice is urgent in my ear, tinny through the miniscule speaker in my cellular phone.

“Tika-what?” I ask.

“Tik-taa-lik,” She says, annunciating as precisely as she can through several hundred miles of distance between us and about as much static.

I can almost feel Her next to me, Her hand in mine, Her breath in my ear. I am trying to win her and it is unclear if I will. This moment, me on my fire escape wishing to kiss her and Her in her studio apartment wishing for I-don’t-know-what, feels particularly precarious.

Kate was the trouble-maker among us. I was one year younger, and didn’t have any friends at school. At age 9 I was already awkward and insecure, and even though Kate wasn’t particularly nice to me, or anyone, she included me, which seemed at the time tremendously kind.

Her parents and my parents were childhood friends. Our families, and Kate’s aunts and their children, all reunited every year in August on Cape Cod. Days were filled with overly competitive games of paddleball and hours of wave riding on over-priced boogey boards. We were competitive about those, too. There were trips to the local dairy barn for soft serve once if not twice a day. We went square dancing every Wednesday. A big annual adventure was whale watching in Provincetown, after which we’d beeline for Portuguese donuts

The Sock [note: auto-play SOUND]


LARRY (48, unkempt, wearing an old, beat up coat with mismatched hat and scarf) enters, quickly scans the room, and takes a seat in an empty booth. He lifts the menu in front of his face, engrossed.

FRANK (33, handsome and confident, wearing designer winter attire that’s two sizes too big) enters. He stands just inside the door, scanning the room, referring to an unfolded piece of paper. After a moment he notices LARRY and the empty seat across from him. He approached the booth, removes his jacket, and has just begun to slide into the seat when the WAITRESS approaches.

Comedy As Drama
No Accidents