07/01 Direct Link
MOYERS: You burst on the scene relatively late. Facebook launched in 2004, but your first status update — “[I]s checking this out” — debuted three years later, in 2007.

SNYDER: That’s right.

MOYERS: Why then? Why 2007, as opposed to, say, the year before or the year after?

SNYDER: I’ve thought about that. And the best I’ve been able to come up with are these facts about Mark Twain: He was male; he was born in America —

MOYERS: Florida, Missouri.

SNYDER: Florida, that’s right; and he owned several dictionaries.

MOYERS: Was it also a political statement?

SNYDER: In a sense, yes.
07/02 Direct Link
MOYERS: The Times took you to task in its January 27, 2008, edition for something you'd posted two days earlier. You’d written, “Maybe pizza later,” which the editors said they’d found “out of step with the prevailing genius of his [your] catalog.”


MOYERS: “Maybe pizza later.” Do you stand by that?

SNYDER: I do. You have to remember, we had just lost — the world had just lost — Edmund Hillary. Brad Renfro. Bobby Fischer. Suzanne Pleshette. Suharto —

MOYERS: Heath Ledger.

SNYDER: Heath Ledger. This was January. So I responded, Yes, maybe I would like some pizza. I do stand by that.
07/03 Direct Link
MOYERS: One thing I find striking in your Facebook output is that you don’t discuss the Clinton administration. You just don’t go there. Is it verboten?

SNYDER: I think had Facebook been around during the Clinton administration I might have commented on it. It’s possible.

MOYERS: So you’re not avoiding it?

SNYDER: Certainly not. It just hasn’t come up.

MOYERS: I ask because Duke Niles, your former Facebook page drummer —


MOYERS: Posts nothing but Clintonalia.


MOYERS: Did you —

SNYDER: That’s his thing. That’s his project. I respect that.

MOYERS: Do you follow each other? Are you Facebook friends?
07/04 Direct Link
MOYERS: Bull Culleghey, vorpal wrapper with the ’69 Philadelphia Sixers, used to say something I think is profound. He said, “If you can’t eat a melon, don’t go to the melon dance.” Do you think that could apply to you?

SNYDER: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

MOYERS: We'll find a good place to pee.

SNYDER: We’re dreaming? Is that what this is?

MOYERS: My grandmother hated sports. Hated them. But she loved that my grand-dad played football. Said it was manly.


MOYERS: Tell me about your grandmother. How old was she when she died?
07/05 Direct Link
I LIKE the entertainment slacked on BeThere. Thoughty output makes me groove upon; and it’s days of this and that what nobody knows. Nobody save this pickle! In today’s dimwittie: A two-meter rabbit what crushes the opposition — with style; these spacers down upon a rock monsto what chews to save hur eggs; sexviews of the female form (such lonesome ladies; what stiltification!); madness called Thriller; strangeo titles from John Snyder. What was his gag? But it works, it works.

Now the upandcome: Eighty chits. For this, for that, for BeThere: eighty is fairway. Crap, I’d pay eighty-eight more!
07/06 Direct Link

“Get these men to the shelter! Go!”

“This wasn’t in the original specification...”

“This looks like it came from the temple. How did you get this?”

“You’ve got a choice to make, son. I don’t envy you.”

“All hands, brace for impact!”

[Massive explosion from different angles.]


“Get your whites their whitest whites!”


“Three teens go in; one teen comes out. And now: The Chamber!


“—and gastric agony. Not recommended for women of childbearing age. Consult—”


“Snyder, look at this...”
07/07 Direct Link
ANTIWISE, Flooty don’t spend up on BeThere. Not my oldietainments, not feedy, not what skips, not even roompaper.

“Gone good out, rilly be there,” she saith. “Find me in the caverns, like.”

My naked Flooty. Was I ever so young?

“Hail, fellow,” says I. “Meet Bugs Bunny. Do that much right by the mood. I’ll chit the whole adventure. We’ll do it at speed, at size. Such a sweetness, how he hits. Larf with me, Flooty-nudie!”

No; she sprays up and flits. Into the citything, I peg. Up to me to claim her in the morning. All for love.
07/08 Direct Link
“LET X stand for this transformation, here. OK? Apply Rheinmann; knock out these vectors (here, here, and here); and what’s left?”

“Um. Six?”


“Negative six? Six A?”

“What are you talking about?”


“Without these vectors in the R-space, you see, we reduce the volume to a purely N-dimensional tautology that intersects the set of all N-1 sets at discrete eigenvalues. It’s infinitely regressive, but still contains the original set of manifold-bounded potential universes.”

“I got... OK.”

“So what is this ‘six’?”


“Wait. Wait a second. N, N-1, Tau... Lambda... Mein Gott.”

07/09 Direct Link
“WOW! That was amazing.”

“You like?”

“I’m a whole person! I was born in Cleveland in 1967; I have three brothers: Luke, Royal, and Dean; I fell in love with my high school geometry teacher, who kissed me once and said it could never be...”


“I own an old Chevy Impala and a new Ford Ranger...”

“Uh huh...”

“And you created me.”

“Welcome. I’m John Snyder.”

“You’ve... You’ve done this before: riffed on characters doomed to live and die in 100 words.”

“I have.”

“That’s fine. I don’t mind. This is good.”

“You’re really OK with it?”

“It’s exhilarating!”
07/10 Direct Link
“PROFESSOR! Professor Colossus!”

“Hello? Adams! Well knock me down! How are you?”

“Fine, fine. You’re looking well.”

“Thank you! Feeling quite vital, actually. What brings you to town?”


“Ah! That’s right, that’s right: April. And now you’re out for a bit of a run?”

“We’re evacuating. Say, I don’t suppose you’d hang up your attack?”

“Well, I’m smashing my way to the harbor. Nearly done.”

“Fair enough. Will you spare the Plaza? My papers, you understand.”

“Happy to oblige. I’ll skirt around.”

“Good man.”

“Oh, these tanks again. Watch this, Adams...”

“—Dear God!”

“Safe travels, old boy!”

“Yes... yes...”
07/11 Direct Link

“Pardon me?”

“We meet in New York. We’ll help those people.”


“And then again, several years later, when—”

“Look, I’m sorry. I don’t have time to, uh...”

“No; oh gosh, I’m not supposed to say anything. But—”

“I gotta go. Good luck, dude.”

“Snyder, yes?”

“I gotta go, man.”

“Here! You gave me this. Here, look.”


“Your card.”

“My card?”

“That’s blood. Sorry.”

“Why do you have this? What’s... senior vice president...”

“You’re a bigwig. Or will be.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m nobody, nobody.”


“Nobody; I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

“Whose blood is this? Hey! Hey!”
07/12 Direct Link
“AND in this one?”

— “In this one I live in a kevell, a kind of polygamous troupe. They speak a heavily Scandinavian-inflected Indo-American tongue. I’m a shipwright.”

“What are the odds you were born, though? I mean, how can it be you?”

— “It is me. I know it’s weird, but I can only visit worlds in which I am. In an infinite omniverse, these sorts of genetic coincidences abound.”

“But we’re more than the sum of our genes.”

— “Yeah. What can I tell you? That’s me.”

“So what’s a ‘kind of polygamous troupe’?”

— “It’s... a sense of connection.”
07/13 Direct Link

— “Oh, God. This one. It’s hard to say what was happening here. I collected and was instantly overcome by nausea, disorientation, and panic. Some sort of—”


— “That’s what I call it. Phased in; collected; arrived. Same thing. Collected just captures it better.”


— “Anyway, I arrived incapacitated. I think it was environmental. I’ve wondered whether ... well, I don’t know.”


— “Whether it had to do with the composition of the atmosphere or, like, some security thing or just plain incompatibility. My camera fired off a gig of swirly images then I fell out.”

“‘Fell out’?”

— “Yeah.”

07/14 Direct Link

— “Um. I could never tell what was different in that world. There are a lot of those. Perhaps a particle in some far-flung nebula had a different electric charge, or will in a trillion years.”

“So why did you—”

— “Or, you know, there could be all sorts of changes I wouldn’t know about. Who knows what people are up to?”

“OK, but it just looks so ordinary. Like, compared to all the others...”

— “It was just good to get away for a while. It was nice. I took the day off, rested up. This is a memento.”
07/15 Direct Link
“DID YOU pick one yet?”


“You have to. The paper’s due in a week.”

“I know. I can’t decide.”

“Just pick one! Then, like, just write it. You can’t let this slide; it’s a third of your grade.”

“Who did you choose?”


“I don’t know.”

“Snyder’s easy. You should pick him.”


“Or Charlene? You’re practically living that life.”




“Mr. Hedges likes her. He’s always quoting her.”

“I know.”

“Tinman? Louise G.? Flow?”

“I’m thinking Dan Berkey.”

“What? Really?”


“Wow. Well, you only have a week. Is that something you can pull together?”

07/16 Direct Link
"WHAT DO I have to do?"

"It’s simple. Mail this letter. Put it in a mailbox and walk away. That’s it."

"That’s all?"

"That’s totally it; that’s all. And then we’ll pay you."


"Don’t ask. My advice, don’t ask."

"That letter?"


"Why don’t you mail it?"

"This is the job. Nine thousand dollars. I need an answer."

"Uh, no."

"No? You’re not gonna mail it for nine thousand?"

"I don’t think so. No."

"Fifteen thousand."


"Thirty-three. Here. Thirty-three thousand dollars."

"What are you, insane?"

"One point five mil. Come on, man."

"Ten mil."

"Jesus. OK."
07/17 Direct Link
“SO NOW we’re beetles?”

— “Holy shit, yes.”

“Great. Great.”

— “Come on, let’s head over there. I don’t like feeling so exposed.”

“What is this guy’s deal?”

— “I don’t know; come on, come on.”

“He doesn’t have a plan. A week of this shit now?”

— “Well, that’s a plan.”

“I’m not gonna be a beetle for a week. I refuse.”

— “Get in here.”

“God damn it.”

— “So now what?”

“Do you smell that?”

— “Sort of. I... taste something.”

“Where’s that coming from? What is that?”

— “Through that?”

“Smells good.”

— “All right, wait; easy up! We don’t know what that is.”

07/18 Direct Link

B. You’re a book.

A. You are too.

B. Wedged in tight. Can you move?

A. ...No. Nothing.

[Cacophony. The other books in the room, hundreds on shelves, in cases, in stacks, spy the newcomers. “What news from the outside?” etc.]

A. Easy, fellas! Hi, hey, slow down. Wow. Hi!

C. Used book? Where’d he get you, Raven? Nancy Dole’s? Boswell’s? What’s your title?

A. Me, you mean?

C. Either one.

B. I’m Unnatural Creatures, by Neil Gaiman.

A. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. B&N.

C. Ooh, a B&N man! Howdy. Up in the Old Hotel, by Joseph Mitchell. Been here goddamned forever. Skimmed, is all.
07/19 Direct Link
“YOU SEE this?”

— “What?”

“The rap on Llewellyn.”

— “No. What’s it say?”

“Says he served three on a fifteen to twenty for armed. They had him in Peachhaven.”

— “Three?”


— “When?”

“Committed in ’88, sentenced ’89, served ’89 to ’92. Out by Christmas. Ten years pro.”

— “Clean?”


— “OK. What else?”

“Buncha nickel and dime shit. Kid stuff. Somebody put him up to the armed, and it looks like he rolled. He’s soft.”

— “Yeah.”

“Some college.”

— “So now what? Bring him in?”

“For the hit on Captain Canaveral? I don’t see how he could have done it.”

— “Super powers?”

07/20 Direct Link

— “Six fourteen?”

“Yeah. Yes.”

— “Bring it up!”

“Wait, wait.”

— “Hold! ... Why are we waiting?”

“I don’t know about this.”

— “You chose. You can’t back out now.”

“I know.”

— “You chose. You signed. Please, Zad. Don’t back out now. They’ll never let you back in.”

“I know.”

— “Six fourteen is a good one. You chose well.”


— “You said goodbye?”


— “OK. You said goodbye. You ran the procedure.”

“God damn, stop being so officious. Let me have a moment.”

— “No. Six fourteen; that’s you now. Jump in. Jump in.”

“Oh, God. OK. Six fourteen. John Snyder. OK, OK.”

— “Goodbye, Zad.”
07/21 Direct Link

— “Laverpush?”

“That you?”

— “Down here! The throat! Western wall, I think.”

“Good grief, man!”

— “You’re at the vent?”

“I daresay yes! What are you doing down there?”

— “Fighting my way down the conduit to the ... to the large magma chamber. Dear God.”

“What a harebrained scheme!”

— “What’s that?”

“I say, you’re harebrained!”

— “I’m inclined to agree.”

“How far down are you?”

— “I’ve no idea. I dropped my [unintelligible].”

“Climb back up! Can you?”

— “I’m to the first dike!”

“This is all rather rich for me. I’m for the lodge. Say, climb back out of there, will you? Rilkins? Rilkins?”
07/22 Direct Link
“WE GATHERED ourselves to the moment, yes?”

— “Yes.”

“Then we leaped.”

— “I make this a yes; for some reason I recall it that way. Thus: yes.”

“Didn’t we have that time?”

— “We had suchforth a time, yes.”

“Now this accountant comes calling. Make me out one reason I should answer.”

— “Answer to accounts?”

“Yes. Or no: answer at all. 'Answer.' The very idea: I!”

— “So distribute forthwith a summary. An account of accounts, like.”

“You body me down.”

— “No, not an account of accounts: an indicia. Say the least. Fulfill the minimum.”


— “Or not. Don’t answer.”

“I won’t.”

— “Yes.”
07/23 Direct Link
“NOW, TAKE this fellow Congreaves.”

— “George Congreaves?”


— “What of him?”

“Big-game hunter, yes?”

— “I hear he’s bagged a pelt or two.”

“He’s a vegetarian.”

— “So?”

“Don’t you find that inconsistent?”

— “No, I rather don’t. I collect stamps, you know.”


— “Doesn’t make me postmaster general.”

“This is different. Speaks to his iron, his character. Let me do get to the point: He supports our headquarters in Subic Bay: our naval base. He’s vociferous.”

— “Yes?”

“Yet under McKinley he was mute. Under McKinley ... where was he on the subject of Pacific strategy?”

— “At school?”


— “You’re deranged, Charles.”

07/24 Direct Link
JASPER CONGOLITE was my friend, and the best friend any man could have. We fought together in the war. We made captain the same day, there on that bloody beach. We met our wives on the same afternoon on a double date at the Bijou, just downtown. Now it’s a Borders books. And boarded up.

Was I a clone of him, or was he a clone of me? The doctors never told us. The mental engineering was too delicate, they said, for either of us to know the truth. The shock might kill us.

Now he’s gone.

Farewell, friend. Fare—

07/25 Direct Link

Royce Ravage, spendthrift for hire; Turpentine Dan, America’s scariest librarian; Ulysses Pennyroy, licorice taster; Huck Bonchreive, tremendous louse; Mitch Tickbrickleman, wood chipper’s boy; Ace Niles, purveyor of fine muck; Leroy-Ann Gladstone, telepath; Staunch Jaffries, rotisserie appraiser; Ukelele Jewelbaum, mercenary for the State of Ohio; Buddy Mangrove, eagle-eyed tenor; Butch Comely, restaurant tip thief; Larry Fiddles, applicant for the position of sailors’ siren; Sam Claviclesnap, dean of lunch ladies, Empirical Professions Institute; Mendel Meyer, geneticist’s twin; Ned Craw, pip; Uggums Pisspour, hot-plastics packer; Pinetree Pippindell, inhuman resources; Caruthers “Lawsuit” Spindle, masseuse; Lou “Flying Fish” Murphy, quite a sight.
07/26 Direct Link
“OK, YOU ready?”

— “Yeah. I’m excited to see this done.”

“You’re gonna do more than see it; you’re gonna help.”

— “I’m here. I’m all set. I’m ready.”

“You washed?”

— “Yep! Yep!”

“Don’t take that bonnet off until we’ve left the room.”

— “Yeah! Yep! I’m all ready.”

“OK. We’ll build them one at a time, sixteen cans each.”

— “OK.”

“You take these: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. I’ll take the other eight. Open them up slowly, one opener per can. Don’t cross-contaminate.”

— “Got it.”

“Just like this.”

— “This is amazing. Wow! This is gonna be his bones!”
07/27 Direct Link
“I DON’T KNOW, sheriff. He said he’d be back and I believe him.”

— “Well, now, let’s let time be the judge on that one. I expect we made our point.”

“Pie and coffee before you go?”

— “Is that peach cobbler?”

“My own granny’s recipe from Philadelphia. Granny Sturgiss, best baker going.”

— “Ordinary I’d say no, but I was raised to accept kind hospitality. Especially when a pretty lady such as yourself is making the offer.”

“Have a seat.”

— “Obliged.”


— “Black is all.”

“Cream on the pie?”

— “Well now!”

“Here you go.”

— “Ma’am.”

“And if he does come back?”

— “Won’t.”
07/28 Direct Link

1. Otherwise the eel will “fly the coop,” and won’t that set you back a pretty penny!

2. In the winter of 1945, however, the plant grew seemingly not at all.

3. “Mr. Purvis, I’ll thank you not to speak to me that way; I’ll thank you with every bit of politeness I can muster,” Miss Jurgley coughed.

4. For what exists a priori cannot be said to exist a posteriori, or at least not in Orlando.

5. We used whipped cream in the pan, but it read as pie. And God damn but I was going to paste that bastard right in the kisser.
07/29 Direct Link

1. “Jenkins?” This was the way he called for father: “Jenkins?” There was no love lost between them.

2. Now, what Steve [Turmeric] brought to the mission was a test pilot’s fearlessness and a rascal’s wit. He knew how to bust us up but good. So when he cut our air, our first impulse was to laugh.

3. By autumn I had begun to hate that dinghy: its peeling, weathered planks; its foot-plugged hole; its shark-bit oar.

4. His previous book, “Fig. 9.2” (Hyperion, 2002), sold for shit.

5. Chemise lived, breathed, ate, and slept paint, a detail not lost on the coroner.
07/30 Direct Link

We were exhausted and too evenly matched. When the bell rang we staggered to center, threw up a couple of game punches and blocks, and fell into a clinch, which Buddy Banks tried valiantly to break up. We had none of that, and danced around the ring like a couple of lovers, happy for each other’s arms. “To your corners! To your corners!” Yeah, right, Banks. To me the world was flashbulbs and cigar smoke, and eerily silent save for the groan of a wounded bull against my chest. O.K., O.K. Then the bell again, and round two was done.
07/31 Direct Link

SWIMMING at the Olympics, that’s something you’ve got to be in shape for, train hard for. And more than that, you have to give yourself every edge the rule book allows, because it’s competitive. So I was shaved head to toe, wearing the sheerest paper trunks, and had been smeared six ways from Sunday in warm Vaseline. Now it was time. Now I was ready. We took our marks. We breathed. We knew everything came down to this, all the swim training — everything. I figured it’s between me, Matsuda, and Phelps. And now we’re in! The one-meter freestyle! It’s Phelps!