Shane Anderson

Multiple Places, 2013

They said: Hello, are you there? Hello? Are they on the line yet?

Boot clack reverberation in a stairwell.

They said: Hello Bastian, hello Jean-Marie, how’s the weather in jolly ole? Congratulations on the Pritler. Wonderful news. Tell me, what was it for? The floating bank or those museums that are disappearing?

A ceiling to floor clogged rain gutter mark in an apartment shaped like an upside down Mayflower.

They said: Most excellent. Call me sentimental, but I’ve always loved what you did for us down in Houston, you know, the one without a façade? Every time I’m there, I stop and admire, my oh my is that a fine building – I just wish I could find it! Ha ha. But that’s another story, am I right or am I right? What do you say gentlemen, shall we get down to business?

Gnawed on gristle politely placed in a napkin.

They said: I’m having a little trouble understanding you. This PDF here says and I quote: Las Vegas, Las Vegas, the hotel/casino projected by the award winning Swiss architecture firm Sieg & de Gagnant, ventures to map out the triumphs and treasures of the Brightest City on Earth from its marshland beginnings to its current hydrochloridization of long-gone epochs and foreign metropolises in a complex of buildings – duh duh duh, skipping ahead – weaving new recreation history into a sinuous maze of sensations, Sieg & de Gagnant will overturn/perfect the Brightest City on Earth as a towering miniature of itself, converting all expectations into a wide-eyed sense of wonder and wonderment. OK. Right. It’s just that, uh, how do I say this? Just, uh… What does that mean, exactly?

Eraser leftovers lined up like javelins.

They said: Gotcha. Ooooh, gotcha. Gotcha. Ooh, ho, ho.

Pitchforks then boilers then lipstick. A cloud of fat loiters over the animal rendering plant as the American flag whips in the wind.

They said: Hot damn if I don’t – this is going to be big. Jumbo big. Bigger than the, theeeeeee uh, shit, I don’t know, that uh, that sailing opera house in Sydney? Or maybe even that that that that radio tower in Paris? Don’t you think? I wager to say not even the Brightest City on Earth has ever gone to such extremities. Can anybody confirm this?

In a circle, one child whispers to another who whispers to another who whispers to another and so on. What starts as a giggle from an inside joke is then flustered further and further until this now public secret is mocked and ridiculed. Laughing and laughing, the children can’t stop laughing at how muddled up everything’s become.

They said: Every son of a bitch who prints knock off postcards, T-shirts, tote-bags and whiskey flasks will be sueable and/or ownable by us. We’ll be the Brightest City on Earth and the Brightest City on Earth will be us, you understand? Looks like you’ll be buying that second beach house after all, eh –-

Some dissolvable pills become porous flamingos and dolphins. Others elephants and chickens. Defective pills grow so large that children are pushed out of bathtubs.

They said: This is going to be big. Jumbo big. People will close their eyes and ruminate and what will they see? You better believe it.

A colonial tapestry rendering the New World with maps and landmarks and people fills up the gallery’s wall, then walls, then weaves itself into the floor, slowly seeping into the foundation.

They said: this is going to make us piles and piles of money – ha ha ha ha ha!

Shane Anderson lives in Berlin and blogs at "Multiple Places, 2013" is excerpted from a larger manuscript, whose working title is "Las Vegas, Las Vegas; or Between Two Mysteries; or Good News Las Vegas." "Las Vegas, Las Vegas" is about two Swiss architects (Bastian Sieg and Jean-Marie de Gagnant), their attempts to build a second Las Vegas and a number of other things. Another section of "Las Vegas, Las Vegas" appeared in > kill author.

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