Distorte is a collection of stories written by Pierce Gleeson

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Reductive Living

I am trying to go green. My wife, as usual, is resisting.

“Are you sure you’ve got the right idea?” she is asking. Her voice is somewhat muffled. “Perhaps I could get in at the end.”

“Nonsense,” I say, tucking a few carefully chosen paperbacks into the space behind her knees. “I need to fit everything around you or this will never work.”

“Is is supposed to work?” she says.

I sigh. “It’s very simple Miriam. Derek explained the concept at Green-Aware last week. It’s called reductive living. Everything you really, really need should fit into one suitcase. Anything more is just hoarding. Western consumerism gone mad.”

“Yes, but when he said everything do you think he meant people?”

“He would have said if they were an exception, right? He’s very logical.”

My wife shifts an arm uncomfortably. “But what about the things I need? Where do I fit them?”

I stop, gramophone in hand. “Very interesting. I suppose you would also get a suitcase. But it would need to be small enough to fit in my suitcase with you and all my stuff.”

“That doesn’t seem very fair!”

“I didn’t devise the system, dear.”

She lies quietly as I try to get my flute case alongside her head. “But wait!” Almost rising. I shush her with my hands. “I need you as well. You should be in my suitcase!”

That gives me pause. “I suppose you’re right. And my suitcase would then need to fit in there with me. This is complicated. We are entering a sort of infinite loop. The Droste effect. I don’t know what to do. Should we call Derek? We could call Derek.”

In the end we agree to have a suitcase each, and fill them with enough space left over for each other.

“I suppose,” says my wife when we are finished, “we could just stay outside the suitcases, since we’re both here. It would leave us free to carry them.”

The more I think about this, the more it seems like a wonderful idea. “That’s brilliant, Miriam. Brilliant. Why, we could pick up these suitcases right now if we wanted, since neither of us are inside them.” We leave the kitchen door unlocked. Miriam puts a note on the fridge where the children will be sure to see it.

Written by Pierce Gleeson
Posted on the 26 May, 2008