Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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The Session


The debut novella by Aaron Petrovich and first release from Hotel St. George Press.

$10.95 $8.21

Excerpt from The Session

What we’re after here is the truth of the situation.

I’ve got it.

I’m pleased to hear it.

In the palm of my hands.

That’s the wrong place for it.

On the edge of my seat?

In anticipation of . . . ?

. . .

. . . What?


What are you waiting for?

Who says I’m waiting?

You’e just done.

I said no such thing.

You are on the edge, young man, of your seat.

But I’m standing.

They’re your words.

There are not, even, any seats within this room to sit in.

It’s your expression.

It’s only an expression.

Your expressions contain dangerous preconditions.

There are only, between individuals, expressions.

Nonetheless, for what are you on the edge of your seat waiting?

It’s a moot point.

I’d like to know. What are you waiting for?

. . . The truth?

See, that’s what I’m talking about.

Are you?

You can’t lie in waiting for this truth.

Like a snake?

This truth won’t come listlessly upon you.

Like the feral field mouse upon the hungry jaws of the bathing snake?

Not this truth, Smith, not this kind of truth.

I’d rather you didn’t call me that.



It’s your name.

I’m aware of that.

I’m not to call you by name?

You are also called Smith.

I’m aware of that.

I might not know which Smith it is to whom you speak.

When I’m speaking to you, Smith, you’ll know it.

Nor of which Smith it is you speak. Nor which Smith to speak to. Nor which Smith it is indeed who speaks. Nor, when you are speaking, and we are able to discern that you are speaking, and not I, whether you are speaking to you or to me. Nor whether, and this is perhaps the crux of it, for me, at least: When I am speaking, and we are able, by whatever means, to agree that I am speaking—because I have, in the past, spoken, and we know how I speak—I am speaking to you and not to me. To myself I mean. I don’t want it to come to that. I don’t want to speak to myself. It’s not‹sanitary. People who speak to their own selves are not, as a general rule, clean. They carry a certain odor.

Have I ever mistaken you for something else?

The odor they carry is symptomatic of their reintegration with the Earth—with the cycles of growth and decay on the Earth—from what rank and rotting organism they no longer are able to think of themselves as separate.

Have I ever taken you to be anything but what you now are?

If I no longer were able to think of myself as an entity that is separate from the world that surrounds him, I should find myself feeling rather—unable to go on.

We must go on.

I can’t go on.

You must.

I am no longer the primary agent in my own destination.

Just because you have correctly perceived that you are an agent in an already given situation does not preclude you from affecting the situation’s outcome.

I am decidedly nothing.

You must be careful not to remove yourself from the equation.

I am the mathematical absolute of nothing.

You must be careful not to remove yourself from any equation to which you are the solution.

I am the void described by the outline on the zero in nothing.

You are deceived, I believe, by a beguiling melancholy.

I have seen my life, and it is a big empty nothing in my head that takes up space, though I cannot imagine why.

Despair, however, only comes to he who believes that he’s perceived the future.

I make no claims of precognition.

Nor could you. You succumb instead to the illusion of a prophetic despair that is developing qualities of the inevitable.

But I have moved outside a position of self-pity and despair to one of boredom.

Come now, little buddy, I know you better than that.

You don’t know me well enough to know me.

I know you better, perhaps, than you yourself do.

I don’t know how to respond to that.

I knew you would say that.

You’re a real piece of work, you know that?

I know, Smith. I know.