Irrelevant Questions for Relevant Writers: Solipsistic Collapse Edition

Don Peteroy is at it again, asking relevant writers irrelevant questions. But could this be the last Irrelevant Question he irrelevantly asks? Writer Andrew Farkas imagines this grim future, and provides an answer that Peteroy didn’t want to hear. At this posting, Peteroy is still recovering from his psychic break.

Andrew Farkas is a fiction writer from Akron, Ohio. He is the author of Self-Titled Debut, which won the 2008 Subito Press Prize for Experimental Fiction, and has published fiction in Northwest Review, New Orleans Review, Whiskey Island, Emprise Review and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. He currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, where he helps run a letters racket on the Near West Side. We published his short story “Sky Party” in Cincinnati Review 6.1.

Question: What’s my next question going to be?

AF: Don, you’re a good guy, so I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your next question is going to be “What’s my next question going to be?” It’s also going to be the question after that. And the one after that. Don, have you ever read one of those old horror stories where someone gets caught in a loop and consequently they’re doomed to repeat the same actions over and over again forever? Have you, Don?

When we read those stories, I think the reason we think they’re so creepy is because in our world, things don’t keep repeating themselves in exactly the same way. By reading one of those stories, we’re forced to look at a world that is completely foreign to ours and wonder what it’d be like if that sort of repetition existed here. You can never step in the same river twice, you can never go home again, that’s the world we live in, but not you, Don.

Oh, at first it’ll be funny. You’ve asked me this question, then without really even thinking about it, well maybe you’ll ask Michael Martone or Lydia Millet or anyone, really, and you won’t worry about it. For a little while this question will be your schtick. But then you’ll say, “I’m done with this question,” only to your consternation, you’ll find that, once again, you’ve asked that very same question. And then again. And again. I hate to be the one to tell you this, Don, but soon CR will suspend your portion of the blog. They won’t fire you or anything. They’ll just say you need some time off. Of course you’ll want to ask why, but when you try to ask you’ll say, “What’s my next question going to be?”

It hurts me to do this, but someone has to, so I’m going to fast forward now, fast forward to the future, where you’ve stopped talking, terrified of what you might say. You’ve gone on a search to find how you might move beyond your one and only inquiry. Alas, this search has been in vain. You can’t get to the heart of your problem without asking some other question, though for you there is only the one. Perhaps you’re on a mountain top there in the future, or in a desert, desperately wondering if you will ever be delivered from this sad fate ripped right from an old horror story. But just like in those old horror stories, and I hate to do this to you, Don, we have to leave you there, because I can’t see anymore of the future than this. But I thank you, Don, for letting me take part in this interview. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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