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FICTION


Things to Remember About the Walls, and Decisions He Made While


Planning Out the Bedrooms by Eric Mayrhofer


of the children he and his wife were going to have, though thinking of it made him sick, not really nauseous, but as if he was on the verge of having an inner ear problem and the world around him was vibrating just a little, threatening to go tipsy. Really, couldn’t there be other options besides bedrooms? There were trees around the side of the house they’d bought with trunks like bodybuilder thighs that didn’t look too keen where they were, and he decided he would heave an axe into them with all his might. He’d pull up the stumps, leaving them a little tall, and line four of them up in a row by some other trees at the back that had some space between each other and the fence that wrapped around the yard. One of the stumps would be for him, and the others for the kids, because three, he thought, was a good number of children to have—an oldest to watch over the other two, a youngest they could spoil, and a middle one they’d always be proud of but constantly forget at school, at the movies, and in the dressing rooms in malls (the plan


He was planning out the bedrooms 16


being, of course, that that one would learn to fend for itself and turn out better than the rest). His wife would probably finagle him down to two, but he’d put three stumps out in the yard, just in case they made a third one by mistake. Between two trees, by the stump stools, he was going to nail up a slab of plywood like it was a woodland bar, and over cups of fruit juice, his on the rocks with a shot of whiskey mixed in, the four of them would discuss the facts of life: The world’s rough, share your goddamn toys, don’t walk in here fucked up on something nasty or it’ll break your mother’s heart, and I’ll punch you in the teeth. For the nighttime, he would fashion beds out of the remainders of the evergreens, and the little ones would sleep beneath a ceiling that was much farther off than one of plaster.


He would punch out the ceilings, at


least on one room, probably only one room, for he didn’t think his wife would ever be open or drunk enough to live completely roofless. That would be the nursery, the same one for all three, because they’d all go shuffling to their own rooms soon enough, rooms that were lined up, cuboidal and white, a carpet on the floor, one window on


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