Jennifer L. Knox: The Bubble That Is You at The End 

   of Your Life

Bruce waits for the gate agent to board the first class passengers. The gate agent is fat, he thinks and wrinkles his nose.

A few people walking by recognize him—a man in a cheap suit, an older couple wearing ugly shoes. He watches their eyes flit over him as if he were an ordinary person, then get big and round as his face travels into their brains, then their own faces open like speeded-up flowers full of light. He loves their faces—that face—which he meets with a grimace and turns his face away—takes away the thing they want most.

Times and city names flip down the board. Bored. Fat gate agent. He grabs the abandoned newspaper on the next seat, certain there will be a story in it about him—for winning the Decathlon, or pole vaulting across the Wheaties box, or something. He’s very good at finding himself in the paper, and there he is, right there, on page 13, but it’s—he blinks. “Is Bruce Jenner Having a Sex Change?” Underneath, a photograph of—it looks like him, but wearing a mask. His face is blank and wide like a moon, and his hair is blond. Little tits under his polo shirt. He’s not fat. The tiny type fogs out as his vision swells so the only sentence he can read is: “‘I never liked my trachea,’ Jenner said.” And in the box next to it, something about a woman who died from eating a clay beauty mask, which, suddenly, he can taste.

“Mr. Jenner, can I have your autograph?” A little young boy is standing in front of him holding a crayon. He’s Chinese or something. Bruce looks around and sees the boy’s parents on the other side of waiting area, smiling at him hopefully, obsequiously, and at their son with—is that embarrassment? Yup, they think their kid’s going to fuck this up. Which means he already has, doesn’t it? Somehow, this kid in the Mickey Mouse t-shirt’s already fucked everything up.



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