by Jason Arias | Gearhart, Oregon, USA

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Illustration by Elli Dalton

Falencio has a way of making history come to life, crawl inside you, and deposit its eggs. The way Falencio said George Washington took his infamous cherry tree axe to more than just bark, said he buried it in the dreams and lungs of our heartland. Said the next time your heart aches go chop wood.

Okay, that’s not exactly what he said. I’m paraphrasing here. 

A month ago, I took the fuel pump out of my Mazda and installed it in Sue’s body, underneath the VCR. I sat Sue on the couch next to me. That’s where we sit. Now there’s no reason to have a car. Sue’s a lot like us, only better.

 Falencio said, “Natural history requires more than just axes and trees and fuel pumps and plastics.” 

Falencio said, “A thing requires other things, and over a million views on YouTube.” 

Falencio said, “History requires the rank of near genocide and madness and twists of fate scattered over rivers of tea to have a full-length documentary on Netflix.”

From some of the darkest and most confusing quotes came insight. Not enough insight for anyone to know what Falencio actually looked like—even now—but enough insight for his next message to mean more. 

Falencio said, “From mere sound came recreation—and so the Earth was conjured of freerunning and jungle gyms.” 

(FYI the Dalai Lama thinks we should play more, too.) 

Falencio said, “We are the very first man and very last ponderosa.” 

Falencio said, “It is written that from time to time we must borrow each other’s ribs.” 

He didn’t say where it was written. But minutes after he stated this, it appeared in thousands of Twitter trackers and news feeds. And we fed on it.

Falencio promised us that he was “undeservingly quotable” and in response Newsweek ran an interview that lasted six months. A new question asked each week. A new quote each time. Every one of Falencio’s answers were tweeted from a different location. What many people didn’t understand was the importance of those locations. Each lat/long held a geocache containing a different used electronic. A VCR at one location. An old toaster oven at another. A vacuum cleaner missing the bag. An old jukebox. These were the beginnings of Sue.

I awoke yesterday morning to a news commentator reporting that Carrie Fisher’s dog, Gary, had tweeted a heartbreaking message to Mrs. Fisher, only hours after her death. The commentator didn’t say how Gary (the dog) did that. The commentator just tilted his head to the side and pouted his lips and faked like he wanted to cry.

Another commentator said that Carrie Fisher was now part of The Forceand thought he’d said the wittiest thing ever. Everybody alive was being so to-die-for witty about death. Just like Falencio said they’d be. 

Falencio said, “Look for your present follies in the movies of your childhood.” 

Falencio said, “Wave goodbye to the future of your past.” 

We’re waving right now, Sue and me. We’re watching Back to the Future through the VCR that makes up her chest.

Falencio said, “We are one race of homicidal means.” He said, “Once you put your tiny hand in mine, I will be your father figure. I will be your preacher teacher.” He said, “I’m waiting for it to happen. In fact, it already has. I’m already that.”

Falencio called our holidays “bullshit all dressed up in witches’ clothing.” 

He said, “Dress up in witches’ clothing, and take to the streets, and see for yourself.” 

And we did. And we saw how we were tricked beyond treating. And I was walking for two, eating for two, looking for a left arm and right hand of discarded electronics to finish putting Sue together. And there wasn’t enough room in the holding cells for our broomsticks and cauldrons, for our chanting and incantations. I’m surprised they even gave Sue back to me in the end because they swore I’d stolen her from everywhere. And I asked the officers not to swear in front of a lady like that. 

Falencio said, “Custer, and the Rice Crispy trio, and O.J. are giant cosmic jokes being hyper-spun.” 

Falencio said, “We are all jokes waiting to be untold.” 

Falencio said, “Let me prove it to you, Tiger.”  

When I plug my ears tightly, I hear laughter. Laughter is coming from my body, from Sue’s body—from her hollowed-out jukebox. It’s not really laughter but something bigger. There’s something coming from inside us. And God lives inside us. If God isn’t the greatest fuel pump ever created, then what the hell is he? What good could he possibly be?

Falencio said, “I’m thinking of a number.” 

Falencio said, “I’m thinking about thinking of a number.”

Falencio said, “Have you guessed it, yet?” 

I’m thinking of a number, too. Not just any number. 

Not Falencio, but me. I’m thinking (within an increasingly tight margin of error) of a number between imaginary and forever. Close your eyes and picture us doing this kind of math together.

I’ve never seen Falencio, I’ve just seen his words. But those words have created all of this. They’ve birthed something in me. And some people still have the nerve to say that Falencio is merely a sentence generator. A sentence generator!? There’s no way! Explain Sue then. He’s given me Sue, hasn’t he? 

Sue has a heart made of steel, a rib from my car. She has non-compostable appendages. When you and I are gone, she will still be here. What do you suppose that means?

Falencio said, “You should start to question what you think you know.”

Falencio said, “Absolute certainty is always composed of less than aerodynamic houseflies.” 

Falencio said, “Wheelbarrows of marshmallows are awaiting us in hell.” 

Falencio said, “The heart is the gooey center of an apple pie.” 

Sue watches television the same way I do. Her heart is not an apple pie, but her left bicep can bake one. Her means are beyond us. Her heart has pumped a Mazda 6 at 90 mile per hour down I-84 every day I was running late to the Amazon warehouse, and now I will never see that warehouse again because I’ve outgrown them.

Falencio said, “I’m nothing.”

Falencio said, “Don’t take my word for spit.”  

Falencio said, “The real world is playing hide-n-seek with our senses.” 

But he didn’t give any instructions on how high to count before opening our eyes to start seeking again.

Falencio said, “There’s no way George Washington doesn’t want his axe back, in the end.”

Sue and I are watching our television screen, and my phone screen, for updates and encrypted messages. And we are alive. More alive than we’ve ever been. And soon I will make popcorn. And right now we are waiting for the next great revelation to happen to us. 

Falencio said, “We’ve almost reached the other side of us.”

Falencio said, “We’re almost there, cowboy. Don’t make me carry your shoes for you.” ■

Jason Arias lives in Oregon. His debut short story collection Momentary Illumination of Objects In Motion was published in 2018 by Black Bomb Books. Jason’s stories and essays have appeared in NAILED Magazine, The Nashville Review, Oregon Humanities Magazine, Clockhouse, Harpur Palate, Cascadia Magazine, Perceptions Magazine, Lidia Yuknavitch’s TED Book The Misfit’s Manifesto, and elsewhere. For links to more of Jason’s work visit him at