This is Chris Terry, speaking from beyond the digital grave. This post is left over from my tenure as the 2011-’12 Graduate Student Ambassador for the Creative Writing – Fiction MFA program. The folks at the grad office were kind enough to run it for me.
Wyatt started the program a year after me and I’ve been pleased to watch his bad-assery go down ever since. You can find his writing in Hair Trigger and The Handshake. I wanted to post an excerpt from his folktale, The Sad Legend of Breadbox Johnson, but the sheer amount of [ahem] language prevented me from doing so. Instead, here’s something from Gerald White’s Chair, preceded by a note from the man himself.
Info: Wrote this in a Modular Fiction class with guest professor Bonnie Jo Campbell. It was a really fun class. This bit is one of the nine interviews about Gerald White’s chair. It made its way into my thesis, which was a collection of shorts. – Wyatt
Subject: Henry Drexler
Title: Project Accountant
Answer: That’s a lie. Gerald got his chair in through the freight elevator in the back alley. If you rode the elevator with him, which I did, up to three times a day, you would’ve heard him brag about it. He said, “It barely fit, but now my chair and I know what it’s like to have our own personal elevator.”
Answer: Marcus doesn’t want anyone finding that chair before he does. Everyone wants it. And, by now, every asshole has a story to throw every other asshole off with. Some of them are pretty elaborate. No one knows the exact truth, but, in a majority of the stories, the chair’s supposed to be super comfortable, plus—if what Gerald said is true—it has powers. I don’t work close enough to have seen it, Gerald works on the thirty-sixth floor and I work on the forty-fifth, and this is only from what I heard him tell people on the elevator, but, supposedly, it does the work of whoever’s sitting in it.
Answer: Like, say, when Gerald sat in it, during that last month of the fourth quarter, he could nap the day away, and when he woke all of the work he needed done, was done. If you cried bullshit, no one would blame you, he’d refer you to his cubicle buddy. He’d say, “Go ask Howard Gregory. He’ll tell ya. He knows what’s going on. He sees me sleeping and the work getting done. He doesn’t believe it himself.”
Answer: I thought it was a lie. A rumor to pass the time. Something to think about other than death or whether or not I like my job and coworkers. Then I saw the security footage of Gerald leaving the building after he was fired (it’s quite legendary around here). He doesn’t have the chair. He has a mad look on his face and he’s holding a cardboard box with rolled-up calendars and motivational posters poking out of the top of it. But, I repeat, no chair. Even odder: the footage from the camera trained on his desk, which is some of the only remaining video of the chair, glitches and jumps to static when Gerald exits the building, and, when the cubicle twists back into focus, the chair’s gone.