Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Christopher Linforth writes about Directory, his new story collection out from Otis Books/Seismicity Editions.
If Directory were a pair of twins they would be conjoined. Fused at the shared upper thorax to the sides of the crania. Two brains would process the words of their world; two mouths would tell the stories of where they came from, the blame they would place on their parents. Yet the twins do not want to be part of the world of freakshows, schlepped from Jerry Springer to Maury to Ellen. Their parents want a miracle cure or experimental treatment or operation to separate them. They pray for a celebrity to help fix their boys: a fundraiser endorsed by George Clooney or Jane Fonda. Or, at least, one of their hangers-on. The twins want none of this. They migrate online; they devour the complex geometries of Escher. Infinity staircases surround the access points to their room and its digital counterpart on their website. They do not advertise the web address. They keep it a secret from almost everyone. They store records of others like them: the Brodies, the Knacks, the Ysabelles. Then they stop. They vanish into the digital ether. Their parents cannot locate their children; they scour online for any mention of their two boys; they scroll through pages, looking for traces of their sons’ activity. They stumble across a portal to the Dark Web. In this new world, they discover a directory listing a binary entity: 01110111 01100101. They dial the string of numbers and wait.
Christopher Linforth holds an M.F.A. from Virginia Tech. His debut short story collection, When You Find Us We Will Be Gone, was released in 2014. He has published fiction and nonfiction in dozens of literary magazines, including The Millions, Gargoyle, Hobart, Southern Humanities Review, The Rumpus, Notre Dame Review, Denver Quarterly, and many others. He has been awarded fellowships and scholarships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Find out more at christopherlinforth.com or follow him on Twitter at @linforthc.