ly - Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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From Page 7B
in kind, and soon they were entan-
gled in each other.
Finally, she thought, she had his
Then came the BEEP BEEP
BEEP of a breaking news alert on
News Radio 790 AM, All News
All The Time. He slowed the pace
immediately, and she thought she
could feel his ears perk.
"Can youturn that thing off," she
He ignored her.
"Two school-age children were
shot in the streets of the Bronx
tonight," the announcer said. "They
have been taken to a nearby hospital
and are listed in critical condition."
He stopped and drew himself
away from her.
"Did you hear that?" he said, in
complete control of his breathing.
She pulled him back. "Try to for-
get about it."
He did for a moment. They con-
tinued. The deep voice listed off
some unimportant details about the
"That feels wonderful," she said.
Then BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.
- "For me too," he said.
"Update on the double shooting
in the Bronx tonight," the news-
caster said. "Witnesses are saying
that the alleged perpetrator, who
is not in custody, screamed sev-
eral racial epithets at the children
before shooting them, and then said
'Their kind should be wiped off the
face of the Earth.'"
Before she knew what was hap-
pening, he was struggling back into
his clothes. Right before he put on
his shirt, she noticed a few small
words just above his belt that she
didn't think had been there when
he had taken it off.
"Where are you going?" she said.
"I've got to get on this. This could
be amonumental story," he said, and
the worst part was that he looked
happier now than he had when he'd
"You really have to go?" she said.
"You know how it is," he said as
he stepped outside of the apart-
ment. "The news never stops."
It got worse after that. He had
to take daily 45-minute showers to
wash all of the newsprint off of his
skin. Perhaps the worst part was
that the newsprint was appearing at
odd times. They would be in a res-
taurant when a byline would appear
on his forearm as he forked a pea.
Once, at dinner with their friends,
a portion of a headline appeared
on his neck. It said Beirut bomb
stri before it disappeared into his
hair. She spent the rest of the meal
worrying that someone else would
notice it. No one did.
Sometimes she found whole
paragraphs on him. once, near his
bellybutton, there was a full picture
of what looked like a soldier holding
a child in some faraway country.
Soon she hardly recognized him.
Full parts of his body were obscured
by newsprint. One night his thumb
would simply not be there. Another
night it would be a toe or his chin or
an eye. Once even a whole arm.
They hardly talked anymore.
They never left the small apartment
together. He would come home
and sit down in front of CNN. She
would sit with him and read some
cases for work and worry. Why had
she gotten married, she would won-
der, and as if to answer, he would
turn toward her, showing that his
right ear was missing, blackened
by newsprint like a cloud obscures
the sun. He refused to acknowledge
that anything was wrong.
"Aren't you worried," she'd ask
"It's news," he'd say as he shook
his head in remorse. "What can you
do?" A pause. "Did you hear about
the dive the Dow took this after-
Then on a Tuesday evening late
she couldn't see him anymore at all.
One moment they were watching
the news together, he in his arm-
chair, the business section draped
over his stomach, she on the couch,
doing the crossword puzzle. The
next moment the newsprint had
covered his whole body, and he was
"The U.S. Army has intercepted
large-scale arms made by Iran and
bound for Taliban forces in Afghan-
istan," the TV news anchor said. "It
is not yet clear whether Iran autho-
rized the shipment, U.S intelligence
She changed the channel.
- Karl Stampfl is a Residential
College senior and the former editor
in chief of The Michigan Daily
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