The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Additional Results

Robert Sullivan

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Thank you for purchasing TallyInc brand results for your completed life. The categories and data are by no means exhaustive, and can seem a bit random, but we do our best to explain some results, because your life mattered®.

Begin.

[Results for 57 year old male/Mixed Ethnicity/Some Education/From East Coast Region]

– The fastest you ever drove was 115 miles per hour, in your uncle’s El Camino, taking him to the emergency room after he sliced his other hand on the table saw.

– You had sex 218 times. 210 times with Roxy over the course of your 7 year relationship. 2 times with Jolene, shortly after you found out Roxy cheated on you, and again after you were dumped. And 6 times with a prostitute named Aurora.

– There were 298 gumballs in that gumball machine.

– You said “ascertained” 347 times in your life. (Congratulations! You ranked in the top 10,000 in this category.)

– You said “adjudicated” 3 times.

– You visited 29 states, which does include the fifteen minutes you were in Montana while you ran away from the hitchhiker with the machete, who you picked up because you thought he looked like John Lennon.

– The most texts you received in one day was 22, when some guy named Leroy had the wrong number.

– There were 87 blue gumballs in that gumball machine.

– The most you ate was when you consumed the entire family size box of Grape Nuts.

– You were the angriest when—TIE. 1.) When Abby Stewart destroyed your Storm Shadow figure during third grade recess, and when: “I don’t know what it is, it’s just a joke,” Roxy says to you, shortly after you ask her why there was a note in her bag with the words, ‘Wanna bounce again tomorrow?’ on it.

“First of all,” you say, trying to control the burp that you know is coming, wishing you didn’t burp every time you got emotional. “This is not a joke. It’s a note. And I know who it’s from.”

“It’s nothing.”

“How long has Gary been giving you these… notes?”

“It’s just a joke,” she says, still doing her best to avoid eye contact.

“The fuck it is. It is Gary, isn’t it?” you ask, trying not to think of the time last week when the two of you met Gary at the bar, and you noticed that look he gave Roxy.

“Yes,” Roxy says, meekly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—”

“You mean you didn’t want me to find out is what you mean.”

It’s right before you slam the door of that crummy little apartment, and right after you released the fifth largest burp in your life, that you are the angriest.

– There were 67 red gumballs in that gumball machine.

– You shaved your face 10,543 times.

– You shaved your scrotum 8 times.

– You cried 137 times in your life, including when you fell off your bike during one of your physics experiments. You cried when you were 6 years old, when your dad sat you down in his chair that one morning:

“Listen, little man,” your father says, putting his large hand on your shoulder. You think his fingers look like sausages links, which you hate (patties are fine), but you love the shiny ring he wears. “Your Pops has to go away.”

“Why?” you ask. You aren’t exactly sure what’s going on, but you’re suddenly worried about the strange sound in his voice. You notice his face looks like it does when the Jets fumble, but more so.

“Sometimes, things just don’t go the way you want them to.”

You’re now terrified. This is not good. You grab your father’s hand as he starts to pull it away.

“Is it because of the gumballs?” you ask. “I’m sorry, Pops.”

He gives you a hug. “No. It’s not that at all. Just some stuff between your mother and me.”

He looks up and over to the other room, where he and your mother had just been talking very loudly for a very long time. “Sometimes things just don’t work out.”

“I’m sorry. I am. It fell. It just fell.”

“Listen, I need you to be tough while I’m gone, okay?”

“I’m sorry, Pops. Don’t go.”

He pats your head, messes up your already messy hair, and walks out the front door. You can’t see clearly as your view is blurry with tears. You hear your mother over your cries, telling you not to go outside. You stand on the porch and watch your father get into his truck. You can see his Jets-lost-but-worse face through the blur, and you don’t know it yet, but this is the last time you see him, and this look is the only thing you will remember.

– You got your hair cut 1682 times. Not counting the time it was shaved by the surgeon, when you were 9, shortly before he stitched up the gash in your head from where you hit yourself with a screwdriver.

– You owned 27 pairs of shoes.

– The most excited you were was when you were 6 years old, the day before your father leaves, when you’re at the mall, just after the man with the speckled beard says, “Don’t let ‘em fix you. You fix them!” You back up, wishing your mom would stop staring at the discount book bins, you bump into a large gumball machine. Your fear of the beard guy is compounded by the evidence of motion, of gravity, of physics, as the gumball machine slowly tips over, crashing down and bursts all around you. The sound is horrific.

Even though you know this was bad, real bad, you admire the fraction of a second, that split moment, when the explosion looks like fireworks, colored balls of chewable confection bouncing, streaming, dancing about, as it envelops all that you see.

About the author

Robert Edward Sullivan is from the Midwest but now lives in the Pacific Northwest. He is okay with the rain.