REAL-TIME VIDEO OF DEAD PEOPLE YOU WANT TO HAVE COFFEE WITH: A NOVELLA
(SERIALIZED AND BROKEN UP INTO SECTIONS FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE, AS DENOTED BELOW)
THIS IS PART THREE.
PART ONE APPEARED IN DIAGRAM 4.6; PART TWO APPEARED IN DIAGRAM 5.1.
The Dead:   
This is our last house.
It is not huge, though it seems smaller than it is. It has gabled windows, rooms that are anything but square, and ceilings that slope in unexpected ways. All of the second floor-rooms exit into a small common landing — only eighteen inches wide — that runs next to an open stairwell. The doors leading to the bathroom and second bedroom open at each other; they will not open at the same time.
I am in the bath, an old, footed tub, because we do not have a shower. When Wellbutrin went downstairs, a half-hour ago, his door caught on the handle of mine. I am not sure what he's doing, but he can't hear me.
I am stuck here, naked.
I could dry off and get dressed.
Where I am seems more comfortable.
After Iowa, where Tito left us, we did several houses in Minneapolis. Finally, we decided to come here, to Grand Forks, North Dakota, a place neither of us had ever been. Unlike any of our broadcasts, we are trying to incorporate the surrounding city. We want to be clear that our subjects, two of them this time, were locals.
This is difficult to feign, because we aren't leaving the house.
If we are feeling brave, we can glean some information from whoever delivers us our food, but mostly we have to do research online, conducting surveys, doing interviews. We can see the Red River from one of our windows and we know that it is one of the few rivers in the Northern Hemisphere that flows north. We read it on the city's homepage.
The water is getting cold, so I lift the drain open and run the hot.
I know Wellbutrin will not be long, because we go online at noon. Unlike the other, one-time broadcasts, we do this house in twelve-hour installments. We prepare our food and sleep in the house before we start, taking all of our belongings with us, through a trapdoor in the kitchen, to the dirt-floored basement.
We no longer use a chat-room. I am still hoping we have some kind of audience, but as we started getting more complicated, forging relatives among other things, it became taxing to pay attention to how anyone was responding.
Instead, we continue to post extant journal entries, informative articles, and brief essays in which we postulate what Theresa Muncee and Glen Hughes might have done if they were still alive.
For the first time, we have included pictures.
They are our own, digitally altered.
The Theresa Muncee who died in this house — industrial sabotage when she was ten — has blond hair and smaller eyes than I do.
The Glen Hughes who took his own life at twenty-one looks almost nothing like Wellbutrin. I have asked him if that was his real name. I have asked him how old he was when he changed it. I have asked him what happened, what was so terrible.
He says Glen Hughes has nothing to do with him.
Still, I know nothing about his past.
I have no idea if any of the journal forgeries are autobiographical.
All of Theresa Muncie's memories are mine, until age six, when she didn't hear the advertisement for auditions. From there — especially in the speculations about how she might have aged — our lives fork in separate directions.
Eventually, I hear Wellbutrin in the hallway.
He unbars my door, but doesn't open it.
"I'll be quick," I say.
"You've got time," he says.
When we get to the basement, we will start with today's speculation, how he might have gone fishing with a coworker from the English department, how she might have played a round of Frisbee golf before flirting with the man at the used bookstore.
By the time you see it, the tub will be empty and dry.
But for the moment, I linger in the water, warmer now.
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