We Were Down

by Jason Porter, recommended by Electric Literature

EDITOR’S NOTE by Halimah Marcus

The narrator of Jason Porter’s “We Were Down” has a groundbreaking theory: everyone (including you) is depressed. And he doesn’t mean that we’re depressed in a benign, smile-and-carry-on kind of way. He believes he has discovered a secret. Like aliens passing for humans in They Live, morbidly depressed people are roaming the earth, disguising themselves as emotionally healthy. The narrator’s convictions take the form of a sadness survey, and with questions like, Why are you so sad?, it’s no surprise the survey gets him fired when he distributes it at work.

To wonder why, and how, humanity is ailing is not an investigation unique to this story’s narrator. It is, perhaps, the prevailing question of the novel. “What’s ailing us humans?” is a popular thing to ask because it can be answered a million different ways, many of them correct and none of them comprehensive. (Now is a good time to mention that “We Were Down” is excerpted from the novel Why Are You So Sad?, out in January.)

Jason, as a writer, is emotive and diligent, with descriptions that are as satisfying as plunking a coin in a slot. The narrator’s wife, in response to learning of his ideas: “She kissed me on the forehead like she was putting a stamp on a letter”; an image on a pamphlet for phone-in mental health services: “Her red mouth is so close to the phone is looks like she is going to smudge the receiver with lipstick.” And, when the narrator finally answers his own survey, it is a devastating description of a life that “fades or crumbles into broken parts that I can never reassemble.”

Recommended Reading readers have their own opportunity to take the survey here. The author of the best answers (as determined by Jason Porter) will win a free phone session with a certified life coach, a bottle of gin from the NY Distilling Company, and a signed copy of Why Are You So Sad?.

If there were a survey contest in “We Were Down,” the winner would be Ms. Fellowes-Albrecht, a wealthy performance artist who wants the narrator for a happening. At a dive bar the two become mutual recruits, he with his survey and she with her performance. They face off like counter-rampant creatures, each making the other more alive. Which is what Jason Porter does for us, challenging, prodding his reader to a happier, more awake state.

Halimah Marcus
Co-Editor, Electric Literature

We Were Down

Schlitzy’s Haus is not big on lighting. The food comes smothered in shadows. The walls are covered in shingles and the shingles are covered in dirt. I stop in on my drive home because I don’t want to see Brenda yet. I’m not even going to call her. It is Wednesday. She’ll be watching her hospital program on the television. That is my justification. She doesn’t need me when she is with the doctors. She eats food out of cartons close to the screen and gives the medical staff advice on their relationships. They listen to her in ways that I can’t.

Unlike my wife, I am at the far end of a long beerhall table, sitting with a frosted mug and a stack of surveys from my place of work; covert questionnaires I distributed to my colleagues without any permission from my superiors. It is an extremely important project that has nothing to do with my job as an illustrator of furniture assembly manuals. As it turns out, using company stationary and forging other authenticating details in order to extract personal information from coworkers is frowned upon. But I still think it was worth it. What I was after was a scientific method to confirm a grave suspicion that has been haunting me. What is my suspicion? There is no pretty way to put this: We are all very sick. And I don’t mean sick like the man leaning over there against the video poker machine who looks like he had too many shots of Jaegermeister, except that I also mean that man. He no doubt drank himself to ruin because of the dreadful weight of the disease that is inside all of us.

Let me explain. The truth of it came to me a few nights ago, as I struggled to fall asleep, and my consciousness lingered in a halfway house of anxiety that bridges my waking and sleeping worlds. I was on my back, in bed, controlling my breathing, looking up above me. The ceiling fan was spinning. I was trying to empty my mind, trying not to think about taxes, and hair loss, and the peeling paint on the exterior of our house, trying to slip away into a restful nothingness. It was there in the less explored regions of my mind that I found something. I found the dinosaurs. This is what they told me: It started like this for us too. We were down. Nobody noticed because it was gradual. It snuck in like fog. We were moody and sluggish and complacent and we were too busy eating things to take notice.

I rolled over to get my wife’s opinion on the matter. I said, “Brenda, is it me or is every single person we know depressed?” She let out a dramatic sigh and very slowly closed the gigantic children’s novel she had been reading. She kissed me on the forehead like she was putting a stamp on a letter, and said, “You are,” and then as she turned off her light, and shifted onto her side, facing away from me, she said, “I’m not.”

Of course she was wrong. One of the symptoms of the illness is a limited ability to recognize a widespread downgrade in our collective well-being. It is a combination of viral apathy and the fact that relative to everybody else we don’t necessarily feel depressed, because we don’t appear any worse off than all the other secretly dispirited people who we see on our way to work or in line at the supermarket. But she didn’t know this. She also didn’t know that I planned on researching the disease fully, and planned on using my place of work as a testing ground.

Which is why, two days later, I am sitting here at Schlitzy’s contemplating ordering another beer or five before I get on to the business of alerting the world to the pending epidemic, and to tell my wife that my employment status is in an obscure state.

I don’t know if I mentioned how much I love Schlitzy’s. It is so lovingly dark and quiet. I feel safe here. Like some bad weather is passing over outside, and maybe if I sit here long enough, and wait it out, maybe the weather will pass and when I walk out our species will no longer be on the brink of something terminable. Even if that isn’t true the beer is delicious, nobody talks to me, and I can smell animal knuckles melting into sauerkraut. All positives.

To my left, a couple of seats over, a lengthy woman is sitting down on the other side of the table. Her clothes are black. I am going to say she is French. Since I highly doubt we will ever talk, no one can disprove this. A youngish woman, but her hair is silver. She is so sophisticated it has gone grey early. It’s her exquisite blood lines, evident in the way she carries herself, the way she must smell, like tea and fresh linens. She is perfectly cultivated. Cheekbones so exemplary they could win a blue ribbon at a state fair, were there fairs for that sort of thing.

To shield the fact that I am observing her, I have begun reading a pamphlet the HR department gave me this afternoon at my exit interview. It is for a phone therapy service which is partially subsidized by my health insurance while I am on temporary leave. On the cover, under the word (that isn’t really a word) “TheraRestore” is a photo of a woman smiling, talking into a phone like the phone is a little baby she wants to kiss and tickle. She is pretty, with dynamic eyelashes, and her red mouth is so close to the phone it looks like she is going to smudge the receiver with lipstick. The brochure makes being crazy and talking to somebody about being crazy look sexy. I imagine having a conversation with a real teletherapist. Not the woman in the photo. I know better than to believe in her. But a pool of part-time mothers, working in cubicles just like my cubicle at work, but in India, breastfeeding their children or doing their nails while looking through gossip magazines.

I glance over at the French woman and she glances at me and I realize I am reading a brochure for crazy people, and even though I think we are all mentally ill, I don’t want her to think that I think I am mentally ill, at least in a way that perusing the services of TheraRestore might imply, so I put down the brochure and quickly grab one of the surveys I have from work.

To the question, Why are you so sad?, Todd Langley, an associate in Quantity Assurance, responded:

I am very happy. Who wouldn’t be happy with my life, my hot wife, my car, my gun, my church, and my fast pitch softball team? I am very happy.

I am trying to remember who Todd is. There are those people you don’t work with but you work near. I never remember these people’s names. I think Todd is the big one that scares me. The one with the tight fitting polo shirts I once stood behind in the employee cafeteria who served himself an obscene amount of tater tots and then ladled thousand island dressing over them.

I look over at the woman again. Let’s pretend her name is Monique. That will make talking about her easier. Monique is writing notes in a notebook. She has blemish-free hands that are holding a platinum pen. Is it platinum? I don’t know. It looks expensive and it is definitely metallic. I look away, because if not careful I could stare at her hands indefinitely. They are works of art. So, I look at my beer. I take a big sip. It’s possible that I am a nervous drinker. I feel extra thirsty at the moment.

The waiter who is also the bartender has just brought Monique a club soda: clear liquid, ice, bubbles, wedge of lime. I get his attention and order the combination sausage platter. I can’t tell for sure if Monique is watching me order because I am trying not to let her know that I am watching her, but it feels like she might be looking this way.

I grab another survey. This one is from my wife Brenda of all people. I was careless and left a blank survey out on the kitchen table last night. I was up late, after she had gone to bed, staring at the questions, wondering if there was a way to revise the survey and make it more probing. She found it this morning, and already being suspicious, she filled it out and left it for me. Probably her way of warning me.

This is Brenda’s survey:

Name: Brenda Champs

Are you single?

Not yet.

Are you having an affair?

Not yet.

Are you who you want to be?

Last I checked.

Would you prefer to be someone else?

I am good at being me. You know that.

Are you similar to the you you thought you would become when as a child you imagined your future self?

I hoped I might have a house with a swimming pool and a pink Cadillac. I didn’t realize my breasts would have a weight to them. I didn’t think they would hurt my back. I was a child. I imagined child stuff. This is a dumb question.

Why are you so sad?

Did I say I was sad? I don’t think that I did.

What does it feel like to get out of bed in the morning?

Like popping a joint back into place.

Do you realize you have on average another 11,000 to 18,250 mornings of looking in the mirror and wondering if people will find you attractive?

I look great. You know I look great. Stop staring in the mirror and do some pushups.

Do you think people will remember you after you die?

They better.

For how long after you die?

I don’t know. How would I know?

Do you believe in God?

Kind of. Not really. Sort of.

Do you believe in life after death?

I don’t like to think about that.

Do you believe in life after God?

I still believe in God, more or less. Is that what you are getting at? What is this about? This is stupid.

When was the last time you felt happy?

When I balanced our check book.

Was it a true pure happy or a relative happy?

It was a you are wasting my fucking time with this survey kind of happy.

Is today worse than yesterday?

All days are the same.

If you were a day of the week would you be Monday or Wednesday?

Both.

Are you for the chemical elimination of all things painful?

Look, I took those ones to quit smoking. And I took those others for my ankle injury, and I keep around the extras for the occasional hell-born menstrual cramp. And those others I don’t take but keep around in case I need to relax. Like after I see you are spending your time writing insane mental health surveys, which winds me up, so then I want to take a pill to wind down. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Do you think we need more sports?

Raymond, what is this all about? Did you write up this fake questionnaire because you thought I didn’t hear your paranoid nonsense the other night? Memo: The world is still spinning. Everybody is fine. People are a little unhappy sometimes. You’ll be fine.

Love,

Brenda

P.S. Don’t take this to work. I don’t want to have to support you when you get fired.

Obviously she was wrong. Is she happy? I would say she is not in touch with her unhappiness. Or maybe she possesses a gene that helps her resist the decline. She is of a blurred Eastern European background. There is probably a village somewhere over there where the women all behave like her. They all whistle the same tune while the men and animals fall over dead.

The waiter has brought me my sausages. I hold the fork and knife and look at the waiting meat and hesitate. It’s a rich moment. I like to mentally picture the deluge of meaty juice that pours out onto the mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, before I proceed with actually cutting into the sausage and watch what I just imagined happen.

“I don’t think they’re making a fortune off of the sausage,” the steel-haired Monique says to me. I am at a loss. The main appeal of Schlitzy’s is that interaction is never a probability. It is a temple for people like myself, who don’t want to talk, who want to eat and drink and maybe sit under one of the few lights to read a book, or in my case surveys, without any risk of conversation.

“You probably like that,” she says, undeterred by my silence.

I look past her. A woman in one of the red booths near the unplugged jukebox is checking herself in her compact. She is wearing a hat with a fake blue flower on it. The hat has fallen out of a different era. So has the woman. She is checking herself like she is preparing for company, but every time I come here she is in that booth and there is never any company.

I look back at Monique. She is smiling. She is patient. It wears down my resolve. I realize that I am dying to talk to her. I don’t want her to realize this.

I finally answer, “The sausage or that they aren’t making a fortune on it?”

“Both.”

She is right. I love the sausage. That’s probably obvious by now. I actually like the idea of all the parts I would have no business with in any other context — ears, lips, noses, something called recovered meat, all ground and seasoned with god knows what, encased in something else I don’t want to know about, and then boiled in beer. Some people smoke cigarettes, looking death in the face, sucking in tar and hundreds of toxic chemical reactions, killing themselves on their terms. I eat sausage.

And she is right about the other part too, I like that Schlitzy’s is only scraping by. It is selfish, but true. I like that there is dust on the tables. I like that when I have to get up to piss out my two beers I won’t have to acknowledge another patron. There is never a risk of small talk, and I like that. Everybody at Schlitzy’s already knows they are miserable. It is how I imagine heaven. We’ll have something to eat and something to read and nobody will bother us. And the beer will come in big glasses.

What has me confused and feeling a little vulnerable is that I was so transparent to this woman. I don’t know if I like that she is in my head. I should almost warn her: My head is working on some pretty big projects at the moment. And then also, she is trespassing. But she is attractive. If she were the man with the whiskers like corn silk who droops and drools near the front of the restaurant, I’d have given her an evil eye for speaking to me. But he can’t move this far. He also probably doesn’t have the lingual coordination, nor the teeth, to make intelligible sounds. And he isn’t pretty. Nor is he French, either in real life or in my imagination. So in her special case, I allow the talk.

I say, “I suppose it does suit my purposes that Schlitzy’s isn’t exactly packing them in.”

She says, “You want them to subsist,” but she says it at the very same time that I say, “I want them to subsist.” It is like an echo if an echo could bounce back in elegant clothing.

She is smiling at me as if the coincidence is a good thing. I am smiling at her like it is freaking me out a little.

A man at the bar is slowly crushing soggy coasters as he stares into space. There is no music in the restaurant, only the occasional sound of the bartender clinking glasses.

Monique moves over two seats so that she is directly across from me. “My name is Glenda Fellowes-Allbrecht,” she says. It’s not the name I was hoping for, but it fits her once I get over the loss of Monique.

“I find you interesting,” she says. I notice she has a long, almost extra-terrestrial neck. It could turn corners all on its own.

I say, “None of us are interesting.”

She says, “You are to me.”

I say, “Interesting has been washed out of us.”

I don’t know if she gets what I am saying, but she seems tickled by it, and while her delight perhaps borders slightly on the patronizing, it is nice to have somebody take an interest. It’s a lot to carry around this insight into our collective peril all on my own. It gets heavy.

“I wonder if I can borrow you,” she says as she puts her hands together in a kind of prayer. The gesture looks natural on her, as if she prays every time she asks somebody for something. It isn’t as bad as it sounds because her hands are so refined.

“I wonder if I can be borrowed.” I take a bite of the potatoes. They have soaked up the liquid fat. They are delicious. I can feel my arteries wriggle.

She is eating a salad.

I look at it and say, “I didn’t know they had salads here.”

“I brought my own.” She shows me the plastic tub she brought it in.

She says, “I’m a conceptual artist.”

“I’m unemployed.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not. It’s a leave of absence. But I don’t think they want me back.” Talking is nice. She seems interested. I have no idea why she is listening. I don’t know if it is for the right reasons, but it is still nice. “I don’t think I want me back either.”

“If you are unemployed why do you have all this work with you?” She is looking at the stack of surveys.

“It’s a project.”

“What kind of project?”

I decide to tell her. She seems like she can handle it.

“I believe we are all being sucked into a barely detectable cavity. A very slippery sort of crater. And once we realize we are down there, it will be too late.”

“Can’t we climb out?”

“Our hands and feet don’t have that kind of traction, and our hearts and minds will be too sad to believe in hopeful things, like getting out.”

“We’ll be like one of those gangly millipedes who find themselves drowning in a toilet bowl?” she says.

“Except less panicky. If the millipede can be lethargic and defeated, then yes.” I clarify her analogy as if I am only mildly impressed, but in truth I love what she has said. With an analogy like that I can feel her burrowing into my heart. I don’t know if the burrowing is like a kitten cuddling up to its mother or if it is like a chigger depositing its larvae beneath the skin of my ankles, but it feels like it could stick. Like most things the feeling confuses me. I want to walk away. I also want to elope, forgetting for the moment that I am already married. I want to propose a suicide pact. We will make love in a station wagon, parked in a garage with the engine running, and let the deathly exhaust slowly wash away all of the suffering; leave it for the living to contend with.

“So what do these,” she is looking at the surveys, “have to do with the toilet bowl?”

“Field data.”

“Can I take a look?”

“Only if you are willing to fill one out.”

I give her a survey and then leave her to it while I go take a piss.

Above the urinal someone has drawn a smiling cock and balls with legs walking over nippled mountains. Closer to the top of the urinal there is a sticker that says, “Sex-Moms For Hire — 567–878–9878.” I take out a pen and write next to it: “Feeling like all paths lead down? Report your sorrow while you are still aware that you care.” And then I put my e-mail address next to it.

On the way back to Ms. Fellowes-Allbrecht, I order a beer for myself and a Manhattan for her. The bartender slides the drinks across to me without talking.

Glenda is still working on the survey. She looks serious about the enterprise. I sip on my beer and watch her think it through. Her brow contracts into a series of ripples and her nostrils flare every time she begins to answer a new question. A strand of silvery hair keeps falling down into her eyes and she leads it back behind her ear, and then a little later it falls again and then she corrects it all over again, but never looking up from the questions. I like that she is taking my survey so seriously.

She looks up and smiles and slides the survey across the table. “Go ahead. You can read it in front of me,” she says.

Name: Glenda Fellowes-Allbrecht

Are you single?

We are all single.

Are you having an affair?

We are all having an affair.

Are you who you want to be?

I am whoever I want to be whenever I want to be.

Would you prefer to be someone else?

When I do I will be.

Are you similar to the you you thought you would become when as a child you imagined your future self?

I never felt like a child. Even when it was ponies instead of horses.

Why are you so sad?

Because sad is beautiful.

When was the last time you felt happy?

I feel happy right now.

Was it a true pure happy or a relative happy?

It was temporal. It had to do with an idea. Finding a subject for my project. You. You will be perfect for my conceptual art piece. I came in here because I knew I would find somebody. I wanted that disconsolate posture in your face and shoulders as soon as I spotted it. It couldn’t be the woman in the corner who is waiting for somebody who died forty years ago, and it couldn’t be that man at the bar who is drinking because he is trying not to gamble, and it couldn’t be that bartender, because part of his sad appearance is intentionally ironic. You are the one.

I look up at her for a moment. She smiles at me and bites into a radish. I am gulping.

Is today worse than yesterday?

There is no difference. But tomorrow should be pretty good, because you are going to help me with my project.

I look up again. Another smile. I get scared and look back down at the survey.

If you were a day of the week would you be Monday or Wednesday?

I would be October.

What does it feel like to get out of bed in the morning?

It feels like a different category of dream. One where balance becomes a little more important and smells are much stronger.

Do you realize you have on average another 11,000 to 18,250 mornings of looking in the mirror and wonder if people will find you attractive?

That’s only if you count forward. But for what it is worth, I think you find me attractive, and I don’t mind that you do. I am flattered even. You have a funny bald spot on the back of your head and I think it evokes a certain amount of innocence, which I think is attractive, as well as perfect for my project.

I reach the back of my head to feel the spot, but then realize what I am doing, and that she will realize which question I am reading, which even though we both know I am reading it, I do not want to acknowledge it, because there is the mention of me finding her attractive, which is true, and I don’t know how, or am not yet ready to acknowledge it. I am scared, and excited. My pulse accelerates. I sip more beer.

Do you think people will remember you after you die?

I think I’ll die after people remember me.

For how long after you die?

[ 1/(year of death — year of birth) ] x [(number of friends + press clippings + photos + (size of grave stone x popularity of cemeteries) + honorary bench at non-profit theater )/national attention span] .

Do you believe in God?

I think God is a placeholder for the anxiety created by unsatisfying answers to unanswerable questions.

Now I really am feeling something. What an answer. I don’t know if I love her, but I know I love her answers. I look up to see if she is as beautiful as her answers and she is no longer sitting there. I feel panic. A dryness in my throat. Loss. A separation. A desperate willingness to believe in ghosts, if that is what she was, and the possibility of building a future around a ghost. I have lost my appetite. I test this by cutting a piece of sausage and putting it in my mouth. I press down on it slowly with my teeth, so that every bit of juice has a moment on my tongue. I taste nothing. Finally, I turn around and spot her with her purse on the bar talking to the bartender. She sees me looking at her and gives a small reassuring wave. She is as beautiful as her answers.

Are you for the chemical elimination of all things painful?

I like the way martinis are shaped.

Do you think we need more sports?

No, but I do like the outfits.

Do you hear voices?

I think you have a very nice voice. My project will entail you reading with that voice. We will perform our piece in a shopping mall. I want to dress you in an orange jumpsuit and chain your hands together behind your back. A woman (me) dressed as a low-ranking military lackey will hold a megaphone up to your mouth and you will be forced to read letters from children to Santa Claus through the megaphone. There is a small chance we could get arrested.

Have you ever fallen in love?

I keep love along my side, instead of falling into it.

Now, what do you say about participating in my art project, especially since you are unemployed?

I look up and she is back at her seat across from me.

“I paid the bill for us. Would you like to walk me to my car?”

I nod. I can’t speak. I put all of the surveys in the folder and follow her out of the restaurant. There is a fluid confidence in her stride. The shining hoops that are hanging from her ears are swaying in front of me, and something in me is swaying too.

Under the towering security lights of the parking lot I ask her how she can afford to be a conceptual artist.

“My daddy is rich,” she says. “I also apply for grants.” She goes on to confess that her father started the Anxiety Channel, which for the unfamiliar is a lucrative 24 hour cable network that only broadcasts info-specials on fires, disease, and insect invasions. Apparently it appeals to all advertisers.

“People are vulnerable when they are afraid,” she says. “They will buy anything, especially insurance and knife sets.”

I find this appalling.

She hands me her card and says, “Will you meet me at the Merchant’s Gate Commercial Center tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.?” She says it while leaning against her vintage automobile.

“Can I pass out my surveys at the mall?”

She looks troubled. Torn. She is calculating something in her head.

She says, “Would you like to kiss me?”

I say, “That is not fair.”

She pulls on my pockets, forcing me to lean into her. I am close enough to smell that she has never sweat. Never in all of her life.

I let her let me kiss her.

It is a spangled microscopic world. Entire villages are dancing and roasting pigs on spits. Families gather around old clanky pianos and sing songs that bring tears to the elders. All the children playing games in all the streets are scoring goals in a flickering continuum of identical moments. Galaxies gladly collide. There are no tongues. Just four shy curious lips. It lasts about four seconds.

She says, “I hope I will see you tomorrow,” and gets in her car. It rained while we were inside Schlitzy’s. The wet pavement gives her tires a swishing sound as she drives off.

I am alone. There are puddles. The parking lot is populated with a scattering of empty cars. I contemplate going to the mall with Ms. Fellowes-Allbrecht tomorrow. I will lie to Brenda. Pretend to go to work. Pack up my most important things in case I don’t want to ever return home, and I will go to the mall, and we will kiss, and that will give me the strength to go on figuring out why we are all dying inside. I want this to be true, I tell myself this is what will happen, but I know it won’t.

This is how I answered my own survey:

Why are you so sad?

Because there is a swell of pain inside me and it is beginning to compromise the structural integrity of my emotional skeleton. Because hope feels like something that was discontinued due to safety concerns. Because I can’t make love to the billboards but am compelled to try anyway. Because when I wake up I resent that I have to go on living. Because when I try to tell people how I feel they say, “That reminds me of a very funny television commercial I just saw.” Because everything I touch — the ottoman, the remote, the shoes, the coffee table, the collectible flatware, the cups, the books, the friendships, the interior of my car, the clothing, the records, my wife, the CDs and the crappy plastic cases they come in, the old letters from friends I met at summer camp thirty years ago, the pocket knife that belonged to my grandfather, the flowers I cut and put in water, the finger paintings the slow kid that lives next door gave to me, the house plants, the sunsets, the secrets I am afraid to share, the angry letters to my congressperson, the children I will never have, my marriage, my job, everything and every other thing — fades or crumbles into broken parts that I can never reassemble.

Behind the wheel, driving my car, I roll out of the parking lot, moving slower than most joggers. A voice inside of me says this: Einstein’s theory of relativity dictates that measuring all the smiles and frowns in a falling elevator will not reveal the speed of the fall. I fight the voice, and for half a moment I think, Maybe I can go to the mall with Glenda and warn the shoppers through the megaphone. But I know that all the shoppers and all their hot wives will put on headphones and listen to their own music to protect themselves from the ricochet of meaning. They will look at us like we are Hare Krishnas. Not asking “What is that important message they speak?” but “Why is there bird shit on their foreheads?”

A homeless man leans against a heap of discarded items near the exit of the parking lot that feeds the expressway. He reminds me of a history professor I had in high school, but dipped in sewage. He is holding a sign that says: “Too Many Wars. No House. Honest Sandwich Wanted.” I open the window as little as possible, push out a dollar, and drive home to my wife.

About the Author

Jason Porter has been an English teacher, customer support representative, landlord, traveling musician, and the overnight editor for Yahoo! News and The New York Times. Currently, he writes fiction. His first novel, Why Are You So Sad?, is being published by Plume in late January.

“We Were Down” © Copyright 2013 Jason Porter. All rights reserved by the author.

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