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Usually we both just continue on with whatever we were thinking about like I hadn’t spoken.

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On the Nature of Thin Air

By Christopher Miller

Once or twice a week I say to my wife, “Think how happy we’d be if we had sixty-eight-point-three million dollars.” The actual amount, of course, varies, but is always accurate to at least one decimal which I feel makes the little thought exercise more imaginable, specifics lending credence and all. Sometimes, when I’m feeling extra voluble, I’ll even add a second decimal. Like, “Think how happy we’d be if we had thirty-two-point-six-five million dollars.” Neither of us ever does anymore try to imagine how happy whatever amount of money I’ve specified would make us. Sometimes she’ll answer with something like, “Yeah, so we could just do nothing!” which is a dig at my lack of enthusiasm for wanting to go anywhere or do anything anymore. But usually we both just continue on with whatever we were thinking about like I hadn’t spoken. So I’m not even sure why I bother… Possibly for the same reason I make the sound of cartoon characters fleeing a nuclear disaster, complete with the euphoniously onomatopoetic doolde-deedle-doodle-deeldle-doodle-deedle-doodle of their little legs revving up and feet gaining traction the way a dog’s sometimes will when trying to haul ass off a linoleum or hardwood floor in a hurry but with clickity-clacking instead of doodle-deedling and is analogous to how when they (cartoon characters, not dogs) inadvertently step off high precipices will often continue to converse and behave normally for a short while until they notice or their attention is otherwise directed to the deep thin air beneath their feet, at which point they plummet earthward as if pre-accelerated to terminal velocity with a euphoniously onomatopoetic ziiing or chooong sound similar to the sound I make when my own sound-effected cartoon characters’ feet finally find purchase and they scoot off away from their disaster’s warning alarm sound that’s either my stentorian guam guam guam or falsetto whook-ah whook-ah whook-ah depending on my mood and the severity of the crisis. It’s quite complex. And even on the few occasions that we have discussed and considered how we might divest ourselves of this or that large lottery jackpot had we bought a ticket and won (instead of just gypping the OLC out of two dollars by permitting ourselves to “imagine the freedom” without paying) we usually wind up pissing each other off by buying properties in places one or the other of us doesn’t want to live or bestowing upon this or that cause, friend or family member too much or too little, or, in some cases, anything at all.

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Christopher Miller’s fiction has appeared in COSMOS, The Barcelona Review, Hopewell Publishing’s “Best New Writing 2010″ anthology, Redstone Science Fiction and other print and web based magazines and anthologies. He works as a systems analyst. He writes for fun.

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