“Logan’s Run” by Jourdan Aldredge

Logan lays on the couch. The news is on the TV. Another school shooting is the big story of the day. A gun man killed 33. He put videos up on Facebook hours before.

A letter, opened but unreadable, is by Logan’s side.

He mumbles to himself. Lisa. Lisa. Lisa.

Logan is at a table outside a university library. Sam is sitting next to him, staring intently at the top page of a stack of about a hundred printed papers. His eyes dart quickly across the lines, but his body seems perfectly calm. Logan is talking to him like he is aware that Sam isn’t listening at all.

Logan explains that his life is over. He has no interest in it anymore. He’s not upset or suicidal. He just no longer cares. Lisa, his younger sister, had it figured out. She stepped off a ledge and fell to her death from the roof of her high school.

Sam puts down his paper after making several notes with a pen. Sam agrees with Logan. He agrees on principal but adds that he should take it a step further. He should no longer care about not caring. If anything, Logan cares too much. Life is too meaningless to try to avoid. Take his novel for example. It is the absence of life. It is empty sentences and words and letters that are completely devoid of any thought, feelings or emotions. They sell like hot cakes.

Sam takes pills out of his pockets, swallows one with his iced coffee and gets up and takes his papers inside.

Logan is at his desk. He is a high school History teacher. His students sit quietly reading. Occasionally they whisper, but Logan pretends to not notice. He is sneaking glances at a girl in the back of the class. She is dressed gothic. She has black and blue hair. He is enamored with her. She catches him looking. He throws his gaze to the clock and stands up abruptly. He is about to address the class when the bell rings. The gothic girl smiles, shuts her book—which is filled with anarchic doodles—and slowly gets up, waiting for everyone else to leave the classroom.

Logan is sitting back down at his desk writing into a calendar. The girl, Haley, approaches. He looks up at her, nervous, then smiles. He asks her what is new. She hands him a folded letter, explaining that it’s the longest one yet. Before he can unfold it she turns and walks out of the room.

Logan is sitting at his desk reading the letter as a new batch of students shuffle in. He smiles to himself at certain parts. He folds the letter back up and puts it into his desk.

Logan is eating dinner with his wife. She is reading the arts section as she eats. He is reading the sports.

Logan’s wife, Melissa, is getting ready for bed. She takes several different pills. Logan passes by her in his pajamas.

Logan is in bed reading a book. He puts down his book and turns to his wife. She is dead asleep. After taking a moment to consider, he gets out of bed.

Logan is in the study reading the folded up letter with a half grin.

Logan is outside the library again with Sam. Sam is reading the letter. His facial expression is neutral. When he is done he looks out into the parking lot without saying anything. Logan notices that he is done reading and takes the letter back. Sam tells Logan that it is good. Logan smiles as he puts the letter into his shirt pocket, as if to say, I know.

Logan is at home in his living room. He is watching a movie. It is a black and white art film. Weird and sometimes disturbing images pass by on the screen. Logan’s face reacts accordingly. After awhile a man’s face is on the screen, just staring back at Logan. Logan gets uncomfortable and gets up. He tentatively crosses the room and turns off the TV while the man’s face watches.

Logan’s wife is talking to him while they are eating a leisurely weekend breakfast. She wants him to be angry with her. She says he is too nice. She doesn’t like nice. Every guy she’s ever know—especially every guy she’s ever dated—has treated her poorly. She’s just used to it. She likes Logan, but she wants him to treat her worse. She’s afraid that he’s holding it in, which is unhealthy, and that it’s hurting him. It is her fault. She wants him to yell at her sometime. She reaches across the table and puts her hand on his. She asks him to do it for her.

Logan looks at her hand in deep thought. Lisa. He says Lisa’s name and looks up at his wife worried. She takes her hand off his hand and puts it to her mouth. She looks like she is about to cry. Like Lisa, she says. She doesn’t want him to end up like Lisa.

Logan is getting back to the house from a run. He is sweaty, but feeling good from his runner’s high. His wife walks into the kitchen as he is rummaging through the fridge. He closes the fridge after not finding what he was looking for. He steps up to Melissa and softly takes her shoulders to line her up in front of him. After a few tentative half starts and stops, he gives her a mild slap across the face. She smiles as tears swell up in her eyes. He swears at her softly for not buying more Vitamin Water like he asked her to.

Logan is with his wife at an art gallery. He comes back from the bar with two glasses of wine and gives one to her. Sam is standing in front of a few rows of chairs with a large painting hanging behind him. He is reading from one of the papers with the tiny print he was working on. People listen intently, not reacting much at all, but deep in thought. Logan looks around at the paintings while Melissa is deeply engrossed by Sam’s monotone, unemotional words.

Logan is at school. Students are shuffling into his class. The gothic girl passes his desk and inconspicuously leaves a folded piece of notebook paper on his desk. Logan tries to not notice. He walks away from his desk and starts talking about World War II.

The students leave. The gothic girl files out with the rest of them. Logan watches her go. When they are gone he opens up the paper. Logan reads the letter to himself under his breath. The letter describes a scene on a lake. It is night. Clouds cover most of the stars, but the moon shines bright. It is beautiful is the last line. Logan repeats it to himself as he puts the paper back down.

Profile: Jourdan Aldredge

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