Out of Nowhere

Kevin Sampsell

Time and money are catching up with you. You sign up for free trials and then forget about them and thirty days later, your credit card is charged.

You forget passwords. You make up new ones with names of random friends, restaurants, and birthdays. Sports teams and athletes. Jersey numbers. Concertos. Anniversaries. Death dates. You can’t remember in what order.

You forget the easy answers to security questions. They’ve been pushed out of your brain. Nothing outside of you—that you created, that you opened, that you started—ever gets shut off, terminated. Data consumed. Building up.

You think about your brain and try to picture it, but you can’t.

There are so many things in your phone and on your computer. In a cloud somewhere. Embarrassing things you forgot how to access.

But you wake up one morning and realize that no one cares. No one is coming to your door and demanding you explain yourself.

You imagine windmills out in the country, spinning, generating power for your privilege. Useless. Make them stop. You dream of making them stop. Hiking up the dry golden hill to the humming turbine. Throwing rocks at it. Writing someone else’s name in Sharpie at the base of it. Try to deflect your responsibilities. Die, you think. Just die.

Kevin Sampsell lives and works in Portland, Oregon. His writing has appeared recently at Longreads, the Collagist, apt, and the Elephants. His books includes the novel, This Is Between Us, and the memoir, A Common Pornography. For a long time, his favorite password was Iverson3.