"It was likely the single most important thing ever to happen to Protagonist. Walking home from school, back when children were allowed to do such a thing, back before pedophilic monsters roamed the streets, Protagonist would camp in a handmade fort behind the local hardware store until dark set in. I think it was mostly empty crates and probably some rotting cardboard. I'm not sure. Protagonist is not very forthcoming about this period. The kids at school were nasty creatures. I know that much. One day, Protagonist was in the fort eating animal crackers when a bomb rolled into the alley. The bomb exploded, and Protagonist's body was blown apart. They found limbs and viscera for several thousand feet in all directions. That stupid kid never listened to me. 'Duck and cover,' I'd say, but that stupid kid would never listen."
Duck and Cover
A choreography that places the body in unanticipated communication with itself. A whole movement of ballon, in which the dancers float and sink alternatingly on the front and back beats. Next comes the idle hour, after the low notes have dropped, in which the strongest female dancer in the company stands arabesque for as long as she can endure at the front of the stage. The artistry of the posture is involuntary. Held for such lengths, her pose engages the minor muscles and runs them to excruciating ends. Her body eventually comes to a complete and uninterrupted tremor. She seems as if she will rupture. The noted 1983 performance given by the Moscow State Academy of Choreography at the Bolshoi Theater: in which Nina Ananiashvili balanced on her right foot for two entire hours. Her screams of pain grew and eventually merged with the low, off-key drone of the accompanying Sousaphone, such that one sound could not be separated from the other. Protagonist was amazed. It seemed as if such a thing had never happened before.
Such a Thing had Never Happened Before
Three men brought to this exact house by the guiding light of a star. They trekked forward, hungry from their travels, convinced the star had been placed for them by God. They traveled for thirty days, and the star never so much as flickered. They came to see Protagonist, who accepted their gifts of gold and local grains and spices. "Did you ever see that picture?" Protagonist said to the eldest, after dinner. "Did you ever see that picture where the Germans drove their tanks straight into the East Siberian Sea?" No, the eldest had not seen it. "I was hoping you remembered what it was called."
"How is your daughter?"
"Yes, the one with the child."
Protagonist lifted a bowl of grains and smelled.
"Your daughter had a child, you know. That's why we're here."
"Is it, now?"
Later, after the men had left, Protagonist followed their footprints. They never did find a body. Only a pair of shoes—only a disturbance in the snow.