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I took a deep breath, and then struggled to my feet to answer what did not sound like any phone I knew…

Zoontjens1.jpgPainting by Bas Zoontjens.

By **A. Igoni Barrett**

As I pushed the second leg into my yellow tiger paw boxer shorts, my mobile phone rang. Startled by the shrill of a ringtone I hadn’t selected, I lost my balance and pitched forward. My head struck the edge of the new writing desk, I hit the floor, and just before my mind emptied I said to myself: so this is what it feels like to die with your pants down.

When I awoke the first thing that strolled up and muttered “hello” was the pong of clinical iodine. I opened my eyes to find that my nose, too, had turned traitor: I was sprawled at the foot of the new writing desk. I reached forward to pull myself up, and grasped a leg, which, after I whipped up my head to look, became in my hand the leg of the new writing desk.

The floor was cold;

My head hammered;

The phone rang.

I took a deep breath, and then struggled to my feet to answer what did not sound like any phone I knew. It was my phone; it vibrated in a slow circle on the varnished tabletop. I grabbed for it, and my yellow tiger paw boxer shorts, which, I forgot, was wrapped around my ankles, tripped me. I fell forward and struck my head against the new writing desk. As I crashed to the floor, I did not only think it but would have said it aloud—


A. Igoni Barrett is the author of From Caves of Rotten Teeth. His short fiction has appeared in Kwani?, AGNI, and Guernica, among other places, and a new short story is forthcoming in Kweli Journal. His second book will be published in 2013 by Graywolf Press. Visit his blog.

Bas Zoontjens is a Dutch artist who shuttles between Rotterdam and Berlin. After having graduated from the Royal Academy of Art & Design and the Grafic Lyceum Eindhoven, he received several stipends and grants from many Dutch institutions.

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