Brock About Town: A message from beyond the grave

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Illustration by Lev Cantoral

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that spring semester at the University of Iowa has finished, and yet another batch of liberal arts dilettantes have been unleashed upon the job market. It is with no small amount of relief that I announce that I am one of them. Yes, yes, it’s all very exciting. Unfortunately, as a result of my efforts to matriculate, I have also died.

I guess it’s not really surprising. Finals week was a little rough; taking four tests and writing three final papers in five days truly taught me the meaning of the phrase “sleep deprivation,” and I think most of my fellow students would agree. No, you weren’t hallucinating a zombie apocalypse last week. Those pale, dead-eyed unfortunates shambling around town, struggling to lift Starbucks cups to their lips with their shaking hands, were not the soldiers of the undead, they were the future of tomorrow. I’m sorry you all had to see me like that. I promise I normally wash my sweatpants at least every third wear.

As soon as that was over, we at the UI posed a major inconvenience to the rest of you by inviting our parents into town to watch us walk across a stage for 15 seconds. For a good five days, it was impossible to park, walk, eat or breathe downtown, and we’re sorry. Believe me, it wasn’t a cakewalk for us either. My entire extended family turned out, and I brought shame to them once again by tripping over the hem of my gown while trying to climb the stairs. It was just like my kindergarten piano recital—

Where was I? Oh, yeah, so the embarrassment finished what the exams started, and I bought the farm, if you catch my drift. Luckily, I appear to have gone to heaven. It looks just like Iowa City, except better — everything’s green, there’s no garbage on the ground, you can’t hear the wailing of sirens off in the distance. Best of all, it’s empty. If it weren’t for the occasional car driving past the windows of my house, I’d assume I’d entered into a Twilight Zone-esque alternate universe where only I exist. It’s a comfort to me that I haven’t, that you’re all still out there to receive my Ouija Board transmissions.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 264.

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