and then, SUDDENLY --

Adam Witt is from Chicago. He writes fiction and little nonfiction pieces. They can be found here. Hi.

Ten years from now, you’re not going to look back on how well you argued on the Internet.

What We Lost in the Fire


The elevator doesn’t move any faster if you hit the elevator button over and over again. The smoke doesn’t fill the air any less if you try to stop breathing. Bang on the windows, they won’t break. These are bulletproof, made in some suburb of Philadelphia, little gems.

- - - - -

He set the fire in the basement when he decided he had nowhere to go and nothing to do that was better than setting a fire in a basement.

- - - - -

First, the smoke made its way to accounting. A blond-haired intern jumped to action. She asked about oxygen masks, escape plans, breakable windows. Her direct boss shrugged and mentioned the new windows. “They’re from this place west of Philly,” he said, “Sturdy!” He sent her to take care of an elderly employee, hard of hearing and smell.

He was sitting at his desk, crying.

"I haven’t heard this well in twenty-five years. I’m listening to Klimt. You’re telling me the god damn building is on fire?"

He forgot, after long, what he was irritated about.

The blond intern, a fire drill lover in her youth, a lifeguard in her adulthood, guided everyone to the stairs with great calm and poise. She grabbed the heaviest thing she could find (a three-hole punch from the elderly employee’s desk) in case things needed breaking; you never can tell.

- - - - -

In escrow, a man was mouthing the word ‘perspicacity’ over and over. A date from three nights ago said it to him, when he was talking about his boss’ answers for everything. “I don’t get it. You ask him half a question, he’s answering you. I’ve been at the job twice as long — “

"Perspicacity."

"Gesundheit."

He wanted to say it so much that it sounded weird. He realized it’s hard to do that with a word as weird as perspicacity.

He slept with that date. She thought he was funny. Her chest was covered in surgical scars. “Cancer. Cancers,” she said, in a smoker’s rasp. “You can touch them. I don’t mind.”

He touched them. It made him feel uneasy. She gave him crabs.

He was scratching his pubic hair and mouthing the word ‘perspicacity’ and thinking about the scars from her surgeries from her cancers and the smell of the smoke hit him. He thought of the house fire; his youth; his pyromaniac, dead little brother. He had a panic attack.

His boss came through. “Alright, everybody to the stairs. I think that jagoff finally set something in the basement on fire.” And then: “You alright? Breathe slow. I think you’re having a panic attack. You’re gonna be alright. We need to get you — guys, let him go first, he’s — “

- - - - -

At least one person on every floor (minus accounting) was having a panic attack, anxiety attack, or nervous fit. People hit each other on the head. There was crying, laughing, hysterical shouting; one woman dropped to the floor and gave another guy — not paying attention, headphones on, blasting death metal — she gave the guy a drop-toehold and when he hit the ground, he broke his headphones and three of his teeth. Everyone behaved like animals. Everyone behaved like the building was on fire. Everybody tapped the elevator call button, and they tapped it, and they tapped it. The elevator didn’t come.

- - - - -

He was on the elevator, holding the lighter, which he intended to throw into the river. He was then going to open his wallet, throw all of his non-important plastic into the river along with the lighter and maybe his work-shirt, and then walk to the bar. Once at the bar, he was going to order a black rose, and then a screwdriver, and then — depending on the quality of the first — another black rose. Maybe a water, in between. He figured that’d get him drunk enough to turn himself in or talk to his wife.

- - - - -

Most everyone survived. Mostly, they just had panic attacks (and etc.) and hit each other (and etc.)

Even the cleanest of assholes stink a little bit. That’s how you know you’re alive.

Full 2013 Short Story List.

I just realized I haven’t posted this, so I figured I’d go ahead and do that. There’ll be a follow-up post soonish about favorite cuts, things I’d do differently, and general reflections. Until then, here’s a giant list of short stories. 365, to be exact.

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inthedarkarcade:

I’m working on a very short comic with a talented writer (Adam Witt). This is the opening page. The colours and tones maybe aren’t what’ll be in the final draft - I just wanted to have a play around with this first set of values and see what I could come up with. Ended up with this weird mix of sun-bleached silver age colours and manga-esque tones and gradients. I wanted to go for a found/unearthed look, so, in some ways I feel that fits the bill.
Since it’s a real short form thing, it should be finished very soon.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pablo Clark rips the roof off the place.We’ve been internet acquaintances for a while now, and I’ve admired his art since we met. I jumped at the chance to collaborate with him, when it came up.
We’re into a lot of the same comics, and we agreed that we wanted to do a little Paul Pope / Brandon Graham / James Stokoe riff. 
Collaborating with him, however briefly, has been a tremendous experience so far — and just look at that (and the rest of his blog)! How could it not be?
It looks absolutely nothing like I expected, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. 
This little ditty will be called GUTTR. There may be more, if you’re loud enough about it.

inthedarkarcade:

I’m working on a very short comic with a talented writer (Adam Witt). This is the opening page. The colours and tones maybe aren’t what’ll be in the final draft - I just wanted to have a play around with this first set of values and see what I could come up with. Ended up with this weird mix of sun-bleached silver age colours and manga-esque tones and gradients. I wanted to go for a found/unearthed look, so, in some ways I feel that fits the bill.

Since it’s a real short form thing, it should be finished very soon.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pablo Clark rips the roof off the place.

We’ve been internet acquaintances for a while now, and I’ve admired his art since we met. I jumped at the chance to collaborate with him, when it came up.

We’re into a lot of the same comics, and we agreed that we wanted to do a little Paul Pope / Brandon Graham / James Stokoe riff. 

Collaborating with him, however briefly, has been a tremendous experience so far — and just look at that (and the rest of his blog)! How could it not be?

It looks absolutely nothing like I expected, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

This little ditty will be called GUTTR. There may be more, if you’re loud enough about it.

Comic review: Deadly Class #1 by Rick Remender and Wes Craig

I read DEADLY CLASS by Rick Remender and Wes Craig, and I had some things to say about it.

Daft Punk vs. Strong Bad

—Get Lucky To The Limit

I don’t know who it is, but it probably is fhqwhgads.

(Source: iamarique, via fractrdmind)

goals for 2014 —

I hate resolutions. I feel weird external pressure, and the pressure I put on myself, and it all turns into a thing that’s just unpleasant and sweaty and guilty. 

Goals, I can get behind. 2013 was a crazy, goal-free year that turned out pretty great. I feel like 2014 needs a slap in the back of the head to keep it on track. Maybe this will serve as that slap in the back of the head.

These are in no particular order because that would be crazy.

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the first time I listened to Like Herod

I illegally downloaded my copy of Young Team. The track was mislabeled as Like Heron. I was listening to a ton of Gil Scott-Heron at the time. I Tweeted something that basically amounted to: “The world will be a much more boring place when Gil Scott-Heron dies.” Five minutes later, the news that he was dead went public.

A week or two after that, my friends and I went walking through a wildlife preserve, walking for entirely too long, getting entirely too lost. As the sun started to go down, a blue heron flew over us. Between the wingspan and the noise it made, we were all convinced that it was a pterodactyl or an alien and that we’d soon be shoveling shit out of our pants.

Anyway, when I see the name Like Herod, I think of Like Heron. I think of accidentally killing legendary musicians, and almost shitting my pants.

At that point, though, I hadn’t even heard the song yet.

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