One Hundred Imaginary Gifts from the Simulators

1. the flat stoneware bottle, fitting neatly into the palm of the hand and stoppered with blue glass, that I found in my dream;

2. a tablet of paper made from the feathers of great egrets;

3. a glass eye;

4. a strong round magnet that can be heard to sing softly with a low and continuous note;

5. the star-map on the inside of a stone;

6. six drops of pheasant blood;

7. vials of the water from the seven traditional seas;

8. cornflower blue sandals, a souvenir from Basho’s travels;

9. a rubbing of a stone bearing the name of a god no longer worshipped;

10. a bit of mud dropped by a nesting swallow;

11. a love spell prepared by a voodoo priest;

12. a love spell prepared by a crazy homeless woman;

13. the skeletonized remains of a small rabbit;

14. twenty-three watercolor crayons, one for each color visible at the top of the trail at Baboon Lakes at three in the afternoon, including the color of wild raspberries;

15. a very old postcard whose sender and recipient are both dead;

16. a bucket of fresh olives;

17. a magic candle that, when lighted, gives the dark shadow of night even when it is day;

18. a cologne that smells like wet stone;

19. a cologne that smells like fireflies;

20. a photograph of a male and extremely ugly faerie, washing its face in dew from a buttercup;

21. a papier-mâché model of the Griffith Observatory, to display or to burn or to use as a piñata;

22. a bed framed with Vietnamese cinnamon bark;

23. one hundred tiny clay pots the circumference of dimes, filled with bright pigments;

24. a sheet of postage from a defunct country;

25. an audio tape of frog sounds from the Amazon in the eighteenth century, including species now extinct;

26. a telephone to speak to yourself the night before;

27. the astrological chart of the long-dead concubine of a long-dead emperor;

28. seventy-five points;

29. a bottle into which nine Catholic and nine Buddhist nuns have spat, as a good luck charm;

30. a clay cup imprinted with the fingerprints of Henry James;

31. a microscopic portrait of the Marquis de Sade made from fragments of butterfly wings;

32. a lock of hair from each of your four maternal great-grandmothers, taken on the eve of her respective eighteenth birthday;

33. an ink monkey, as the ancient Chinese sages are said to have possessed;

34. the preserved skin of a pirate bearing a tattoo of a naked woman;

35. a letter purloined from the underground postal system of a prison;

36. a treehouse;

37. the preserved pubic lice of Scheherazade;

38. a miniature star with miniature planets and asteroids;

39. a secret cache of fireworks;

40. a raccoon penis bone;

41. a prime number of six thousand digits;

42. an ancient document in an untranslated script;

43. an empty wasps’ nest;

44. a letter of exoneration from the Queen;

45. a chess set carved by an apostate monk;

46. a belt cut from the hide of the Minotaur;

47. the ill-lit records room from an abandoned state asylum;

48. a three-volume treatise on the forms of sexual ecstasy;

49. a jar of fog;

50. a personal zeppelin;

51. a small waterfall down a rock wall and into your personal bathroom sink, for you to wash with;

52. a packet of perfect fish scales;

53. a newly-deceased person’s schedule for the week;

54. sandals carved from sandalwood, and a matching codpiece;

55. your own skull, taken from the future with a time-scoop;

56. sealed autopsy records;

57. a necklace of the footprints of a hedgehog, the footprints made in clay and fired in a kiln into beads;

58. the address of a witch;

59. a pocket watch with movement carved from mastodon bones;

60. a railroad to the frontier;

61. an envelope of grave dirt from a child Black Plague victim;

62. the testimony of every person who has ever had a crush on you;

63. a powerful semicolon to use in argument;

64. a silk quilt;

65. a deep blue-green pigment that can dye anything, including skies, wedding anniversaries, and thoughts;

66. a phonograph record of your mother singing;

67. plans for a bank heist, including drawings, annotated in German;

68. ten vials containing the characteristic smells of the year 2073 in New York City;

69. a mature cedar;

70. a lasso to bring objects back from your dreams;

71. a toothbrush inlaid with uncut sapphires;

72. a demon trapped in an emptied eggshell;

73. a piece of glass made from lightning-struck sand;

74. a piece of ocean-tossed ambergris;

75. a ship’s lantern;

76. a warm and sunny field of opium poppies;

77. the figure of Salome dancing, carved in a peach pit;

78. a bag for holding pearls, woven from spider web;

79. your own dried umbilical cord;

80. a pendant in the shape and color of the known universe;

81. a hailstone the size of your head;

82. rust shavings from an iron lock;

83. the address of Death;

84. the pineal gland of a prostitute, preserved in brine;

85. cuff links made from a meteorite;

86. an Australopithecus coprolite;

87. a bottle of glowing ink extracted from fireflies;

88. a pound of pure sodium;

89. a magic spell to make a candle burn backwards;

90. underwear made from spun vicuña fibers;

91. a loyal yak;

92. a pair of kid gloves made for your hands;

93. a heretofore-lost episode of The Twilight Zone;

94. the ashes of the burned Aztec codices;

95. a scar from the excision of regret;

96. a new name;

97. a safe deposit box to be opened in three years;

98. a microcircuit printed on a feather;

99. a statue of a Peruvian saint;

100. and a human molar from Machu Picchu.

Advertisements