Always Carry A Pencil

You’ll be the death of anyone who talks to you. You know that, right?

Photo by Brando Louhivaara on Unsplash


“Well, now, look, let me give you a peek,” he said. He raised a hand like to brush aside my low books, then slowly let go of my hand. I had just decided to say “Thank you all.”

“But you’re going to hang around in the dorm, reading and sleeping. You’ll be the death of anyone who talks to you. You know that, right?”

“Nobody knows what I’m thinking,” I said. “I just know.” I let go of his hand, but I kept my eyes on his sunglasses.

“So tell me, what’s the bad news?”

“Nothing,” I said.


I shook my head. “Nothing. I might be losing your place, but I’m not just looking for a bath in the dorm. I’m the one who’s actually going to see what happens in the dorm.”

“So I shouldn’t be alone in this dorm, am I?”

“No, you can’t be by yourself. You can’t go anywhere. But I’m not saying we can’t see what happens. It gets really boring if somebody else tries to speak to you. So don’t let it bother you. I can see that you’re bored, but I really don’t want you or anybody else to get in my way.”

He was right. We stopped walking and went into a nearby diner for a meal.

“I’m not carrying anything,” I said, looking at my watch while I ate.

“But you can’t go anywhere else?”

I nodded.

“You mustn’t be carrying anything when you’re carrying it,” he said, right forefinger out. I could see the faintest smile ever made by those eyes.

“Not even a pencil?” I managed to say.

“C pencils aren’t very good for carrying.”

“Because I don’t need pencils?” That took a while to sink in.

“Guess I could fix it myself,” he asked.

“It’s a pain, and I shouldn’t carry stuff I’m carrying.”

“Even once I was on the verge of being carried—and this drove me nuts, just thinking about it—even then you probably couldn’t carry furniture or stuff, can you?”

“As long as the oxygen in the tank works, of course.”

“And if the oxygen doesn’t working?”

“That’s the part after you get out of there.”

“Did Elaine come and tell you she’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon?”

“You bet she would.”

I had had a number of odd coincidences, then, but I was interested in things like this. “So anyway, what I was asking was, what’re you going to be going to eat on your arrival?”

He lifted his glass and looked around him. It’s always a good idea to have your own private bar when you come to a place like this. The people around us start buying the food, then you go and ask them, “Why, Mr. Griffith, no problem.” Their reaction tends to confirm what other people think. Or else, by the very act of asking them, they reveal their own ignorance.

After waiting for a full five minutes, Lance was able to laugh to a lively extent. “I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Griffith. I didn’t even know you were going to be here. It occurred without my realizing it. I’m a little of an oddball, but I’m not the type of person who has a thirst for the trivial things of this world. I was also quite overcome by this way of living in the countryside. The more I see, the more I want to be more of an ordinary person. What a relief it has been for me to be where I was just about to be caught by an ordinary traffic jam. Then I began to wonder how I, being ordinary, were going to get all mummified in this strange place. Now that I think of it, I wonder, too, whether a person alive has ever felt the same.


Editor’s Notes

Written by AI, generated as a sample during around step 884,000 on run 2 of training my general fiction model by fine-tuning gpt-2 774M.


Added starting quote to first word. Added period to last word. Replaced all names with new randomly generated ones.


Title derived from generated content

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