An Update for Help
It started when the red tag alerted Charlie he was no longer “In a Relationship with Veronica Millhouse,” but instead, his status was undefined. Blank. Nothing. There wasn’t an option for “Not in a Relationship with,” or “No Longer in a Relationship with,” or even “Was in a Relationship with.” There was nothing. From “In a Relationship,” to nothing. And things had never even been “Complicated” before.
And then Charlie noticed he and Veronica were no longer ‘Friends,’ anymore either. He clicked on Photos, for proof that they once were, but the proof he remembered, the experiences they shared, weren’t all there. He found most of their eight-thousand pictures together, but not all of them, and none from the early days. The first date. The first month.
When Charlie clicked on a photo from the album Sun-Splash Water Park!, taken a few months into their relationship, an error message came up. When he refreshed, the picture was gone, as well as a few more. When he refreshed again, the entire album had disappeared. Charlie knew Veronica was online at that exact moment, deleting their pictures, but there was nothing he could do about it. Nothing to stop her.
By the end of the day, four-hundred pictures were erased. The first four months of their relationship. The first four months of he and her. He tried messaging Veronica, but she wouldn’t answer, and when he tried again, her profile vanished. He thought maybe she deleted her account, but his friends said they were still friends with her, and could still read her posts. That they could still like her comments.
By the end of the week, all of her posted pictures of them were gone. It was as if the two had never known each other. As if they never met in college. Never went out. Never moved-in together. Never graduated. It was as if they never talked about moving to Los Angeles to become movie stars. Never did move. Never found that tiny studio in Santa Monica and never supported each other from serving jobs that barely paid and casting calls that never panned out. Auditions they never heard back from. Acting workshops they dumped all their money into, when they had any. All those pictures were gone.
The only remnants of Charlie and Veronica as Charlie and Veronica were the few photos Charlie had posted that Veronica couldn’t erase, but had untagged herself from, leaving an empty shell of a memory with no name or soul behind it. Like a cardboard cutout, set up for display in that captured moment.
—the photo of them at the Arizona State football game. The one of them moving into their apartment in Scottsdale, then moving into their studio by the beach. A few from the times they drank too much on the Sunset. Or in front of the New York skyline in Vegas. Or at the Santa Monica pier, the one and only picture he had ever captured of her outside her standard pose. She had told him no pictures that day, because she was in her swimsuit and eating a chili dog, yet as the sun blinded her, Charlie snuck their camera from their beach bag. Only after the shutter’s click did she put her hand up to hide behind, but the camera had already caught her, her smile filled with runny bun, her tummy over her bikini bottoms—
Instead, she was replaced with nothingness. Replaced with pixels that formed a pattern of resemblance, but without a name. Without a tag. Without Veronica. It was as if she had never been to the game. Never drank on the Sunset. Never eaten that dog.
It was as if they never talked about getting married. Never talked about having kids. Two boys and a girl. As if they never talked about what they would wear to the red carpet when their first movie premiered. When they were a power couple. When the paparazzi hounded them.
It was as if they never started fighting more than they didn’t. As if she never moved into an apartment on the opposite end of the beach to “have some space.” As if she never met her new friend Jack. It was as if Charlie and Veronica were suddenly strangers in the world, never crossing paths before.
Benjamin M. Ortega commented, That sucks dude, to Charlie’s change of relationship. Abby Dawson commented, :( to the news. Charlie appreciated his friends’ thoughts in his moment of heartbreak, but couldn’t help but wonder, as he clicked through Benjamin M. Ortega and Abby Dawson’s profiles, photos and interests, just “Who the hell is Benjamin M. Ortega?” and “How the hell do I know Abby Dawson?”
He didn’t know six other friends who were also sorry he and Veronica were no longer he and Veronica. Six strangers who were sorry to see two strangers were now strangers themselves. He scrolled through his 856 friends and realized he recognized only half, and some more than others. A few from a former job. A few from college or high school or preschool. The rest though were just a giant blank. Four-hundred friends he didn’t know even existed.
That sucks, some stranger commented. :( some stranger wrote.
So he unfriended them. And after he did, he unfriended the six other friends he didn’t know who had posted their condolences. And after them he unfriended the first person on his friends list he didn’t know. Then the second. Then the third.
After a few hours he unfriended 156 friends from his profile. 156 strangers. He would have unfriended more, but was distracted every time an alert tag notified him someone had commented on his status, or his change in relationship, or comments he had commented on. OMG, the new Twilight was soooo dope, a friend wrote on a post about the presidential debates. I’d be down for some In-N-Out, another posted on the same thread. Twenty-seven different alert tags until Charlie unliked his comments or statuses or links or photos or whatever, just to be left alone.
Like most his age, Charlie had set up his profile in college, when the whole thing was nothing more than a novelty for other college students. When users had to have a college email just to create an account. At the time he would friend anyone he met; at the bar, in class, friends of friends of friends, not because they actually knew each other, but because at the time they were the only people on the site to associate with. It was inconsequential then. It was like sex. Like everyone, Charlie had been a friend collector. A person hobbyist.
But now, he was friends with his father. Now, his mother commented on his every post.
He tried remembering the first thing he had ever posted so many years earlier. The first update. The first link. Status Zero, he joked to himself. Update Prime. But he couldn’t. He could barely remember what he posted that morning, let alone seven years before. He scrolled to the bottom of his page and clicked Older Posts, but that only revealed updates and photos from a few hours before. He scrolled to the bottom again, and again clicked Older Posts.
After an hour of Older Posts, he was only seven days into his past when an alert tag notified him how a trailer for the new Batman movie had been posted on his wall, only redone completely in Legos. He clicked the link, watched the video, but when he came back to his page, all the information he worked so hard to reveal had vanished, hidden again behind the curtain of Older Posts.
Again, he clicked Older Posts and awaited his past to load. Again, Older Posts, and again, until he clicked it so many times it took him four minutes just to free scroll from the top of the page to the bottom. Hours of Older Posts until he was seventeen days into his past. Older Posts until there was so much loaded information, his computer lagged. Until the letters he typed and their appearance on the screen were separated by seconds. Until navigating his mouse was like tossing a lasso at the end of a rope. Until his browser froze. He Force Quit the program and restarted his computer, but when he finally logged back on, everything again was invisible and secured away.
Another alert tag popped up. Someone he didn’t know posted something he didn’t care about on his wall. As the new link appeared, Charlie placed his mouse over the Delete option and clicked it. It asked if he was sure, and when he was, it disappeared. It was that easy. Click and agree and white space appeared. Nothingness. Free space to navigate. He thought about this for a moment. At his computer desk, he took the banana he brought over from the kitchen and cracked the black tip. He peeled the yellow skin down the white meat and took a bite. He chewed and swallowed. Then, throughout the night, instead of Older Posts or defriending strangers, he sat at his laptop, his studio dark except the blue hue of the screen, and deleted a month from his life.
The next morning, there were seventeen alert tags awaiting him.
Jason Walter, his college roommate, had messaged What’s wrong asshole? during the night. Jason was tall, with a big nose and red hair, but as far as anyone knew from his profile picture, he forever looked like the three-year-old version of himself, as he cried wildly at the butterfly on his head. In the six hours Jason made the message, he had also commented: Why you deleting everything? You okay brochacho?
The comment, Charlie thought, was too stupid not to deserve a response, and by response, he meant one which adequately ripped Jason a new one for asking such a dumb question in the first place. But when Charlie scrolled down, three other friends had also made similar comments on his wall. Was he all right? Why didn’t he like their postings?
In his message box, he had fourteen new messages, the first from Benjamin M. Ortega, who asked What did I do? Abby Dawson messaged Are you mad at me? And, why are we not friends anymore?
Practically every message that followed was from a stranger wondering why they were no longer friends, or from current friends wondering why Charlie had deleted their posts. The only exception to any of this was Charlie’s ninety-year-old great aunt JoAnn, who asked if Charlie would please plant new corn crops on her farm, and if not, would he please supply her with the AK-47’s she needed for her mob war? Also, tell his mother to call.
As Charlie was considering that maybe all of his friends and formers had grouped together to play a giant practical joke on him, a message popped on his screen.
What’s up with the friend purge? Jason Walter messaged, his thumbnail the three-year-old version of him, butterfly, tears and all. Next thing you’ll be getting a emo dye job and a half sleeve tattoo. I hear the tampon market’s gone up since you got dumped.
Charlie minimized his best friend’s message.
He scrolled through his other friends’ comments made during the night. At the first deletion, he leaned back in his chair at the copy center where he worked, and stretched. He cracked a vertebrae in the center of his back. Beyond the copy center’s window, traffic was backed-up with everyone going to the pier on such a nice summer day.
Charlie deleted throughout his shift, until a few City students came in and had him print and bind their storyboards for their Intro to Film courses. When they left, he went back to deleting, which turned into staring at the old photos of he and the shell of Veronica, which turned into a Google of anything Veronica, which turned into creating a new account and searching for Veronica’s profile to look at the few pictures she hadn’t deleted and must have forgotten to protect under her new privacy settings.
When he got off that night, Charlie thought it best to take some time away from the computer. Since he didn’t have any friends who also didn’t know Veronica, and since he didn’t want a night of bars and sob stories of the dumpee, which would get sympathetic nods before being reported back to the dumper and vice versa, he went to a movie. There, an elderly man behind him, a Bluetooth in his ear which blinked every few seconds, nudged Charlie’s seat and told him to stop looking at his phone, otherwise he would get the manager. Charlie closed Veronica’s profile and left the theater, all the while admitting that, despite not seeing all of it, the new Twilight was in fact pretty dope.
He stayed away from his computer for a few days after that.
“So are you moving back to Phoenix then?” his mother asked over the phone. At this, Charlie knew he had grown completely desperate if he called his mother, having so far ignored her calls since the breakup.
“How’s Dad?” Charlie said. His closed laptop was on the desk, its little white light fading in-and-out to let him know the battery was fully charged. That it was ready to be opened and used. That all he had to do was click here and there to see her. To read the few updates that weren’t protected. The new pictures of her at the pier. Of her and Jack.
Charlie opened his curtains to let in the bit of sunlight that bounced off the building immediately outside his window. The wall was whitewashed and fading from the years it was fashionable to paint red brick. Inside was an actor’s studio he and Veronica had dumped paycheck after paycheck into. Beyond that, a few more buildings, then the beach. The pier. Probably Veronica. Probably Jack. Charlie wondered if it was possible to drown this far away from the ocean.
“He’s out fixing the sprinklers,” his mother said.
“It’s probably 120 degrees there right now,” Charlie said.
“It’s only 113,” she said. “So when did you say you were coming home? I mean, what’s keeping you there now? You hate Los Angeles.”
The laptop’s light faded on then off, like a beacon.
“I got to go to work,” Charlie said, even though he had just called her. Even though he took the day off to go to a casting call for some Disney show he waited three hours for, only to say seven words and be told he was way too old, and that they were looking for someone with a bit more realism, and have a magical afternoon. “Tell Dad I say hi.”
“Your sister came over yesterday,” his mother said, ignoring him like she did. Every time Charlie called, it was as if his mother needed to update him on his siblings’ every actions. Jessica took the kids to the dentist yesterday, Dave had baseball practice in the afternoon, your father’s bowel was acting up, even though he knew about all these events from his newsfeed. “Brought the kids over to go swimming,” she said. “Then Dad and your brother went to the gun show.”
“Okay, got to go,” Charlie said.
“And then on Tuesday, I scheduled my appointment with Dr. Marshall for next Wednesday. Dave’s going to take me. They’re going to take a look at my hammer toe and—”
Charlie set his phone down. He plopped into his computer chair and dropped his head into his hands. He hated his long hair, but in this business he had to keep it long. If a director needed a certain style—he was told by agents who never signed him—it was easier to cut it then grow it back. It was the “L.A. style,” he told himself.
And while he hated his hair, Charlie didn’t, in fact, hate Los Angeles. He just hated that he hadn’t landed a gig yet. That he was still in the same studio he and Veronica first moved into. The one until they could afford beachside. Until they were a power couple. A cloud outside shifted so even less light entered his room. His bed hadn’t been made in two weeks. Two weeks since he stripped the sheets when Veronica left. Two weeks on a bare mattress. Next to him, his computer blinked on then off. Across the room, his mother’s tiny voice chirped away.
There were 189 alert tags awaiting when his computer finally warmed up. 189 posts and messages and pictures made by nearly one-fourth of his remaining friends during his brief exile. All of the material he spent hours deleting and digging for was again hidden away by a mass of links and invitations to parties and groups and games. He deleted through a few before he came across Jason Walter and Dave FightTheBanks have invited you to join “Intervention: Preventing Charlie from Killing Himself.”
Charlie’s mouse hesitated over the delete option. Inside, 137 friends were members. On threads they worried about Charlie. Why didn’t he like their posts? Where was he lately? Benjamin A. Ortega wondered why Charlie was suddenly so introverted. Abby Dawson wondered why he was suddenly such a jerk.
At the top of the page, next to the group’s description, were images of the group’s administrators, Jason and Charlie’s little brother, Dave. Jason, as usual, cried at the butterfly, yet today Dave was the portrait of George Washington. Last week, he was the portrait of Thomas Paine, and before that, Alexander Hamilton, as Dave cycled weekly through images of founding fathers, or the occasional Barack Obama logo, only with ‘Oviod Socialism,’ or ‘NObama’ superimposed on the image. His wall was usually spent belaboring the pitfalls of the American corporate system, which he said was “run by miserly bankers,” or warn against the “invasion of illegals,” who, Dave said, “wanted nothing more than the US of A to be just another slum of Mexico.” Or Dave used it to share research on how “the gays” were ruining everything. Dave was a junior in high school and had over 12,000 friends. Charlie called his mother back.
“I think we got disconnected,” she answered.
“Put Dave on?”
“What was the last thing you heard?” his mother said. After another fifteen minutes of hearing about his father’s prostate exam, his sister’s attempts to again get pregnant, and his brother’s poor grades, his mother finally called Dave to come out of his room.
“Why are you making Don’t Kill Myself Groups?” Charlie asked when his brother came on. At the window, Charlie studied the imperfections of the brick and mortar of the other building. The light shifted with each cloud. A cockroach climbed up the wall.
“To make yourself not kill yourself?” Dave said.
“Who ever said anything about killing myself?” Charlie asked.
“Dude,” Dave said. “You’re deleting your profile.”
“No I’m not,” Charlie said. “And if I was, so what?”
“So it’s the same thing,” Dave said.
“Stop making groups,” Charlie said. “And it’s not at all the same thing.”
“You’re cutting off all your friends, you’re unliking your likes, Jason and I are really worried about you. You’re like making this big update for help.”
“Stop talking to Jason,” Charlie said. “And these people I’m defriending, I’m not even friends with these people. And why are you talking to Jason? When did you two start talking?”
“Why friend all these people if you weren’t really friends?” Dave asked.
“That’s not the point. You have ten-thousand friends.”
“Twelve-thousand, four-hundred and fifty-one,” Dave said.
“Knock off the intervention,” Charlie said.
“Dude,” Dave said. “The only time I ever know what’s going on with you is when you write on my wall. If you delete your profile, you will cease to exist. You are bound by the construct of your interface.”
“Are you an idiot?” Charlie asked. “I write on your wall because of all the offensive crap you post. You’re not Seneca. That’s not what having a profile’s for,” Charlie said. A drop of rain fell between the brick and glass. Another streaked down the window.
“Then what is it for?” Dave asked.
“Just tone it down. You’re going to have to get a job one day,” Charlie said. He closed his curtains. “And I’m not killing myself, so cut it out.”
“I don’t need a job,” Dave said. “I’m starting a revolution. You cut it out.”
After he hung up, Charlie declined the group’s invitation. He moved his mouse over the delete option, but an alert tag interrupted him. Dave posted on his wall. The post was an animation of a middle finger, where underneath Dave wrote: Is this what it’s for?
The middle finger was crudely drawn and went from a small image to a larger one, then back again, as if it were pumping back-and-forth into the viewer’s face. Another alert notified Charlie that Dave commented: Or is preventing America from becoming Communist Inc and/or a Socialist Succubus more productive? Then: It’s always been like this. The site didn’t change, you did. The finger pulsated back and forth.
Charlie left it there, and left his computer. He poked his head behind the curtains. He put his forehead to the glass to better see the puddles on the concrete. Hovering over the water, he titled his head to see the clouds shift between his building and the next.
Screw Dave, he thought. He hadn’t changed, it was everyone else who did. It must have been. It was inconsequential then. When he joined. Yet now he received his weekly work schedule in his message box. Now he received announcements of casting calls. Notifications of weddings. Births. Funerals. Birthday cards from Grandma. He received his news, politics, entertainment, sports, education, daily spirituality.
Did the site change? Did it, or did he?
But if he changed, then what was his account now for? What should he be posting now, instead of pictures of the 5-x-5 cheeseburgers he ordered at In-N-Out, or to check-in at Dodger Stadium every time he went to a game? Dodgers tickets were expensive, and he wanted everyone to know when he got one. Who cared if he was in the nose bleed section?
But if it wasn’t him that changed, if the site changed, then what was it originally? Was there reason once to it? Was there something pure at its source? Had he missed it? Forgotten it? He must have. He wouldn’t have wasted so many hours of his life if the site was always inconsequential. His friends wouldn’t. Would they? Would he?
The light bounced off the building outside and broke through his window. Status Zero, he realized. Update Prime.
Charlie deleted Dave’s posts.
Then, he defriended Dave.
He deleted throughout the night. Statuses, updates, six months of his life wiped into obscurity and oblivion. He called in sick the next day from work. Two years. He called in again, and was told if he didn’t show up, he might as well never come back. Two-and-a-half. He hung up on a friend who told him about a casting call near downtown. “It’s a horror movie, man,” his friend said. Three. He didn’t return the message from the Disney director who requested a callback. Three-and-a-half. Four.
700 friends went to 613 went to 546 went to 325. Four-and-a-half years. 212 friends. Don’t do it, they wrote. Five years. Come back, Charlie. 113. 56. 42. 12. Come back, they wrote, yet still he pushed on. Come back to us. Two friends. Please. One. He hesitated until his newsfeed updated. His mom reported how his father’s follow up colonoscopy went well. 0 friends. None.
An echoing silence filled his site. Like a body without a heart. A car without gas. If a tree falls in the woods, he wondered, does it really make a sound?
Five years into his past went to six. Six to six-and-a-half. He didn’t shave for three days. He didn’t shower for two. In-N-Out wrappers papered his studio like a disaster hit an office building. Like that day ten years before.
He was in high school then. Had they done any work that day? Hadn’t they all just sat at their desks and watched the television? Mrs. Miller cried, he remembered. Geometry and biology and Spanish III was replaced for the day with knowledge he would never forget after high school, like geometry and biology and Spanish III. In sixth period Mr. Carter finally turned the television off. They didn’t have to work, he told them, but they weren’t going to sit around and watch it anymore. “I don’t need an entire class with Post-Traumatic Stress,” he had said.
Charlie wondered how different it would have been if the site existed then. How every post would have been shades of the same gray. How much longer would the suffering, which lasted weeks until any sort of normalcy settled in, have lasted then? There would have been an interlocking network of sadness and condolences. Years later we could have gone back and looked at what was posted, like an anthropological dig into our own grief.
Charlie didn’t want to admit it, but maybe Dave was right. Not about what he posted, but about posting in general. Maybe there was meaning to it. To his profile. His account. The Obama election. The Arab Spring. Every day a consequence of it. An action by it. How had he missed this until now?
More 5-x-5 wrappers littered his floor. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He didn’t even read the statuses anymore, the posts, the links. He just clicked and deleted, rinsed and repeated. He ignored his mother’s calls. Jason’s. He ignored his brother’s texts. He finished his fries and tossed the wrapper on the floor with the rest of them. Another deletion, another status gone. Another link. Another, when his doorbell rang. He went to delete the next, so close to his goal, but the ringing wouldn’t stop, so he left his computer and went to his intercom.
“Open up,” Jason said from the speaker.
“We’re here to help you,” Dave said in the background.
Charlie ignored them and went back to his computer. Only a few weeks away now. So close to what he searched for. So close to his first mark. His first input.
A neighbor or someone must have left or entered the building because footsteps ran up the stairs, then pounded on Charlie’s door.
“We just drove through the night,” Jason yelled on the other side. Pound pound pound.
“Open up,” Dave yelled. “It’s not worth it.”
Weeks deleted into days deleted into hours deleted into minutes. The door jingled as Charlie’s landlord told Jason and Dave he was trying to open it. Give him a moment to find the right key. Don’t do it, son, his landlord yelled through the door.
Charlie deleted another post, and another, and another until he clicked Older Posts and deleted more. Older Posts, Older Posts, the door jingled, Older Posts one last time until he found it. Until it materialized on the screen. Singularity. Origin. His first mark. The first artifact he left for his decedents to find. For his grandchildren to read. For Ancestory.com to chronicle. The bigger part Charlie had played. The tool Charlie had used to change the world. To affect humanity. Status Zero. Update Prime.
—wow, Charlie wrote seven years before, facebook is fucking gay!!!—
Charlie read the words and reread them, but they didn’t change. He tried scrolling through his wall, but his scorched Earth left nothing else to ponder. All that was there, to act as the accumulation of him, was this.
The first picture he ever posted, which he had deleted seconds before, was of him asleep on his couch, vomit on his shirt, cartoon genitalia drawn on his face. This was him. This was what the site was. This is what it always had been. This was source. Singularity. Origin. No matter whatever else would become of it, this was always what began.
Charlie clicked in the upper right corner of the screen and scrolled down. The door opened, and there, in his tiny studio in Santa Monica, his friend Jason and his brother Dave and his landlord, whose name he could not remember, witnessed it. There, Charlie deleted his profile. There, Charlie closed his computer. Charlie became different from the rest. Like a caveman in a world of robots. Obsolete. Useless.
Charlie left Jason and Dave in his apartment to mourn his loss over Coors Lights and Call of Duty and made his way down the street to the pier. Cars with beachgoers honked as they maneuvered through traffic. A man with a parrot took pictures with tourists. City students waited for their buses. As Charlie walked, he listened to the voicemail from the Disney director. Without letting the message finish, he turned off his phone.
The closer he got to the pier, the more he wondered if Veronica would be there. He imagined her brown hair, now dyed blonde in the pictures unprotected, blowing from the sea breeze as Jack took her picture. In a striped tank with skinny jeans and Jackie-O sunglasses, she would posture herself in front of the setting sun in her standard pose, until she would notice him coming up the street out the corner of her eye.
Hey, she would say, as he tried to walk by unnoticed. Families in Laker jerseys and Dodger hats would walk along, pushing strollers past pencil cartoonists and funnel cake stands.
Hey, he would say, caught and unable to continue. She would push away the hair blown in her face. Her lips would purse as she tried to form a smile.
“Hey man, I’m Jack,” Jack would say, putting down his camera phone. He would thrust his hand out for an introductory shake, even though the two had met when Charlie came home for lunch one day and found Jack on his couch, watching his television, Veronica coming out of the bathroom, the bed he knew he made before leaving that day messy and tossed about. He remembered a cockroach crawling across the floor and him stomping on it. Instead of dying though, when he lifted his shoe, the pest simply crawled away. “Damn things’ll survive us all,” Jack had said as he reclined on Charlie’s couch.
On the pier, Jack would shake Charlie’s hand, then shoot Charlie and Veronica’s picture as they stood next to each other. He would ask Charlie his name, so he could tag him in the post.
“So,” Veronica would say.
“So,” Charlie would say back.
“I’m not finding you,” Jack would say, searching his phone. The bottom of the sun would dip into the ocean.
“Well,” Charlie would say.
“Okay,” Veronica would say.
His sandals would clomp over the wood and giant metal brackets of the pier. He would get a few feet away before she would call out his name. “Charlie,” she would say. He would stop. Jack would continue to fiddle with his phone.
“Yeah?” Charlie would say. He would turn to her.
“I was wondering—” she would hesitate.
Pelicans would glide motionless over the water like kites in flight.
“Yeah?” Charlie would say, stepping toward her. The wood underneath would creak. The waves underneath would crash against the shore. Children and adults would scream in joy at the coldness of the water.
“I dunno,” she would say, taking another step.
On the beach, a lifeguard would get out his megaphone and tell a few swimmers to come closer to the shore. Veronica wouldn’t say anything.
“It’s okay,” Charlie would say. “I know what you’re going to say.”
The swimmers would get close enough to stand, then walk back to the beach as the waves hit them from behind.
“Really?” she would say. “So you’ll take down that picture of me? The chili dog one? I fucking hate that one. I told you I didn’t want it up in the first place.”
At the end of the pier, right before the Mexican restaurant, Charlie watched the sun sink below the surface of the Earth, until it was nothing more than a splinter on the horizon and a shimmer in the waves. Like an old-timey painted backdrop, the splinter lingered longer than it should, as if it wasn’t real. With his phone, he took a picture of it, as if to save that brief moment forever. People came up next to him and with their back to the sun, took pictures of themselves, making sure their Dodger hats were fashionably crooked, their poses perfect, as if they were actors, playing the parts of their lives.
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