Excerpt from Mark Baumer’s fiction manuscript, Yachts, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.


When the recess bell chimed everyone stopped touching Phil and went outside.

We all climbed under the portable trailer and dug holes.

One of the teachers on recess duty gave me a shovel.

As I dug my hole under the portable trailer I decided I would dig until the entire world was a hole.

I believed in the possibility of everyone falling in my hole one day and how I would be remembered as the person who dug the hole everyone lived in.

The longer I dug the more I worried my hole would be a failure and I would become the defining blemish of my generation.

For the rest of kindergarten I didn’t do anything except touch Phil and dig holes.

Kindergarten became another defining moment of my existence.

Every recess I would crawl under the portable trailer. When the bell rang, I would return to the blue carpet of my learning space.

The blue carpet was full of spilled milk. At snack time I liked to rub my face on this blue carpet until my face smelled like spoiled milk.

Sometimes I would rub my face in the corner where the blue carpet smelled like damp, burning goat candles and then my face would smell like damp, burning goat candles.

Kindergarten finally ended when the blue carpet didn’t quite look blue anymore.

In the shade beneath the portable trailer, the dirt was cool and moist. Once a small child’s hands strangled a turquoise bird in this shade. It was the only place I had ever been where life hadn’t succumbed to noise of sun-bleached gravel.

As a seven year old, I felt a half desire to give away my first sexual experiences to the hole I was digging.

I was free to be alone with myself and my hole.


mark-baumer-photoABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Baumer lives in Providence Rhode Island. He works in a library. He once walked across America. His website is: thebaumer.com.


This excerpt is from Yachts, a book about the time my penis abandoned me when I was seven weeks old and went to South America.