I was at the hibachi restaurant in the dream. The chef wore a white hat embroidered with moons. He tossed endless shrimp at my father’s mouth but they bounced off his head. I remember thinking my sister’s camera was too big for her body, poor sis, she needs a smaller camera to forever capture dad catching the shrimp. The lights dimmed with every attempt. Shrimp with sad pepper flake eyes sailed slower through the air. He just couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t catch a shrimp in his dad mouth. The chef squirted tequila from a bottle in the shape of a naked baby with a knob hole for a penis across my father’s eyes. He yelled for him to move closer then punched him in the stomach. My mother said tilt your head back, why can’t you do anything right. She said she hated him for every year of their marriage except year seven when she drank rum from soda cans and painted ceramic turtles in the garage. Some people just don’t possess the skill to catch flying food, said the chef. Just look at his face. Everyone in the restaurant looked at dad’s face. See, there’s something wrong with his mouth, it’s deformed and won’t allow him to catch a shrimp from my blade here, to his mouth, there. Pitiful, really. We nodded in agreement. Now you, he said and pointed his knife at me. You have the golden third. The top part of your body was birthed to do nothing in this life but catch flying food. Long neck! Giant jaw! Shelf lips! Move back as far as you can go, it’s show time. Some people abuse the golden third, but not you. You will raise trophies in this life and be alone because of them. Look around, all these people will forget you. Your throat will be remembered by television. I moved back in my chair until I was through the wall and in the parking lot. Tall trees filled with chefs wearing their moon hats sat on the branches. My body was little again. My body was interesting again. As the shrimp flew through the air it expanded and when it grew skin I woke up.
Shane Jones is the author of three novels, most recently, Crystal Eaters. His work has appeared online in The Paris Review, The Believer, BOMB, Diagram, and VICE, among others. His first novel, Light Boxes, was optioned for film by Spike Jonze, translated into eight languages, and named an NPR Best Book of the Year. He lives in Albany, New York.