portion of the artwork for Trevor J. Houser's fiction

Lake Country, Present Day
Trevor J. Houser

My cousins originated from Des Moines, but some came from the lake country of Minnesota. My cousins for the most part enjoy water sports and being active in politics. Some are open about the fact that they are actually my cousins, but no one is absolutely certain how many cousins exist to this day, which makes things more exciting than they probably otherwise would be. My cousins have a long and colorful history, which they are sometimes sensitive about.

My cousins often feel unsure of themselves. They often go to the movies, or drink rye with a little water to forget about how unsure they are. They often say to themselves, “What is the point? Why does it matter that I am someone’s cousin?”

My cousins sometimes wonder if in a million years there will even be cousins, or America, or if it will just be blackness, or maybe something you can only see with an atomic microscope, like a microscopic Rorschach ink blot that is somehow impenetrable and meaningless. My cousins sometimes wish they were younger and could build tree forts. Sometimes they want to walk into the forest and go under some pine needles and sleep there for a hundred years and when they wake up host a dinner party and not feel overly anxious, or worried about the future in any way. Every once in a while my cousins rent cabins in the lake country and they go fly-fishing and drink dry martinis on great wooden decks. They fight depression by playing croquet near man-made ponds with the smell of grilled salmon washing over the dragonflies and daffodils, the sky above them pale green and clear like verdicchio. Some of my cousins went to Pamplona after college and slept in ATM booths and drank sangria and jumped off of statues into the waiting arms of New Zealand rugby players. Many more cousins are dead now along with Martha Washington and Ben Franklin and so many other pioneers who thought their lives were important. My cousins try not to forget how it used to feel. How things seemed better off somehow. How the future seemed bright and full of happiness. Nowadays my cousins sit in bed and stare at the covers without looking up. They semi-read the Sunday Styles section with iced half-caf cappuccinos, thinking about cable bills and cheerleaders saying “OMG” to each other in the nude. They are paralyzed by fear. This is what happens to a lot of people. They wake up one day and nothing feels good anymore.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 35 | Winter 2012