Contributor’s Note

Mr. X claims fluency in salt, razor blades, and water, and has been known to use sex as a tool for opening new dictionaries. He can also hold his breath for days at a time. Associates and prominent academics in the field assert that he’s so proficient at the Dead Man’s Float he should be a professional corpse, rent himself out to pranksters and insurance swindlers, glide into the good life, nose to the ground. Instead, he writes: poems, skits, recipes, monthly profit reports for Millennial Angst Ltd., a clothing and footwear concern headquartered in Hamilton, New Jersey, a quasi-affluent suburb and Republican stronghold snaking like a moat around the state capital. Hamilton boasts a mild climate, low property taxes, clean water, nationally ranked schools, and a healthy respect for diversity, having recently elected two handicapped Tongans and an ex-NBA trans-species cheerleader to city council seats. The council, however, immediately issued an edict outlawing all acts of deletion, including (and especially) those associated with words, both written and spoken. Since nothing could be taken back once uttered or inscribed, everyone in Hamilton grew reticent to speak or write, lest they be misunderstood. It is a matter of historical record that underground groups formed shortly afterward, trafficking in the technologies of erasure. And it is here that our Mr. X staked out a name for himself, among the clatter and splash of words and their owners, among the thought of, the wished for, and the unsaid.

Chris Semansky | Mudlark No. 20
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