“They’re gonna open a night school in the living room,” my landlord says. He stamps his boot in the puddle it’s built on the carpet. “All right,” I say. “Same rent, though,” he says. “That’ll be fine,” I tell him. We shake hands, and he leaves. Through the window, I can see him strapping on his snowshoes and bounding off–he’s so fast in those things I’d never get away in time, not when he stops by every few hours and it takes me twenty-five minutes to cover a mile out there, he’d catch me in a drift and have me strapped to that rescue sled he drags around and back in the flat before I’d made it halfway to a neighbor. Besides I dribble prints every few inches when I go out, so let’s say somehow I locked him in then enjoyed a full day of freedom before his uncle grew anxious and came looking, still he’d have me within the time I’d need to really conceal myself, to double back or dig in and fake a trail for him to follow after, so I don’t bother. Better to stay warm and dry.
I work from home, sorting amateur pornography for cnn.com’s user-generated content section. There’s eight of us who do that, more than any other news portal can afford, and that’s why a plurality of 29-46 year-olds still consider us to be their most trusted source for current events and pornography when taken together. I know this–I know that a person in his or her third decade is more likely to look to us for this sort of sustenance than to anyone else, I feel the gravity of their inclination teeter on my gut. I read the annual reports, and I know they’re wrong–“the average cnn.com reader expects to be apprised and aroused”–who writes that? What are they talking about? We give them a different thing, and nobody knows it.