Two white mass murderers sit in a prison cell. One is reading a poetry journal on the bottom bunk. The other is bouncing a balled-up pair of socks against the wall on the upper bunk.

“Hey, Mitch, check this shit out.”

“Oh, Gary, not another poem!”

“You want me to read it to you?”

“Just give me the fucking thing.”

Gary hands the poetry journal up to Mitch, who takes it and begins to read. He shakes his head and says, “What the fuck?”

“I know, right?”

“This fucking guy stole your story!”


“I mean, he changed the city and the number of victims, but still, it’s obviously you.”


“And is this one of those…whatyacallits?”

“Persona voice!”

Mitch looks confused. Gary reaches up and grabs the poetry journal.

“He’s writing in my voice! He’s pretending to be me!”

“Shit! Can he do that? Is that even legal?”

“Unethical as hell, that’s for sure, I mean, it’s like he’s erased me!”

“Be strong, Gary.”

“It’s just hurtful, you know?”

“I know. That’s the way these cis asshole writers are. Is he white?”


“I fucking knew it.”

“And he didn’t even get it right, not even close. Look here, I would never say, ‘the bullets sprayed the air like splintered metal mosquitoes.’ Jesus, that’s horrible! Does this guy even have an MFA?”

“Stupid mo-fo!”

“Hmmmm…’their guts flew out like stillborn squid’…that’s not bad…but wait, he says it was an M-16. It was an AR-15, dumb-fuck! AR-FUCKING-15!”

“You think this piece of human waste got paid for this?”

“Does a one-legged duck get a backache?”

“Like $25?”

“It’s the principle of the thing! He’s getting paid for my hard work! He’s using my personal experiences; he might as well be pulling my hair and using me like a pony ride! I’m just tired, Mitch. So tired.”

“You’re bald, Gary.”

“It’s called a metaphor. Educate yourself.”

“I say we smoke him. If he won’t get woked, he’ll get smoked. Hey, I’m a poet too!”

“Stay in your lane, Mitch, for god sake. Besides, we’re fucking locked up, genius.”

“Yeah, but we got rec tomorrow, and the Mouse owes me one, so we could use his password and get on the Internet.”

“Yeah, yeah, not a bad idea…get him where it really counts!”

“On Facebook!”

“Facebook? Facebook is for losers.”


“Get serious! We’re going straight to Twitter.”

“Twitter? Shit, you’re really mad!”

“He’ll never know what hit him!”

“But what if E. Kirsten Anderson or Su Hwang get wind of it?”

“You’re not afraid of them, are you?”

“Well, they can get pretty mean…and they cuss a lot.”

“Hell, they should be on our side. I’ve been appropriated! I’ve quite clearly been unmitigatedly appropriated. This is a form of violence! This is an attack! My soul has a weal!”

“It’s hard to tell whose side they’re on. I mean, what if they block me and then keep talking shit about me? You know how much I hate that.”

“Grow a pair, Mitch.”

“What if they start using AAVE? I had nightmares for a week after the last time.”

“Cheese and crackers! Are you with me or not?”

“I’m with you, Gary.”

“Fine, get that password.”


“And see if you can get some ice-cold Cokes, too. I wanna be all jacked up.”

Gary goes back to reading the poetry journal and Mitch goes back to bouncing the balled-up socks against the wall.

“Ay Chihuahua,” Gary says. “Check out this guy’s author photo. What a pussy! Nice haircut, dude. Did your mama pick out that outfit for you?”

Their laughter echoes throughout the prison.