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Cafeteria, and outside. I sat down alone and a weird girl with her weird guy sat next to me. They reminded me of Evil Mike and Evil Rachel. She told me things John Linnell had said in the kitchen. The guy never said a word, but shrugged at me as he left. Everyone but me was eating – finally I managed to get interested in food and went to get some. Gumbo, chili mac. The pasta was words. Matt White was there, and a lot of fringe people I used to know. Nobody but me thought the pasta was about They Might Be Giants. On the way to the kitchen I passed a long wooden table covered in candlesticks. Sunlight was falling on the two at the end closest to me, making the candlesticks themselves burst into very small flames. I was trying to get to the kitchen but had to keep backstepping to blow out the fire, move them out of the light, blow them out again. The sunlight kept changing; I could not get them entirely in the shade. In the kitchen it turned out I had to do everything myself. Pasta marshmallows. Everything was too complicated. Startrellis played outside – we all jumped around the benches in a circle. When we stopped jumping, we made the music stop. John Flansburgh was lying on his back under a tree, thinking. The pattern of sun and shade on his face made it hard to tell whether he was looking at me as I approached, but I knew he was. I was thinking things but not saying them. He said, “I see you winning the botanical garden. That means you’ll never grow anything.” I shook the branch that was casting a shadow over his face. I wanted it to drop its tiny white flowers on him, but none fell.

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