From the forthcoming collection Stay Awake.
Death hangs around Brandon like a necklace. People die, and that’s what defines this story, but it seems to me that this is more about Brandon’s inability to accept death as a part of life. Of course he is moving on, but is he really? His parents have voluntarily departed this mortal coil, and left Brandon and his sister the family house. Brandon lets that drift away, and he finds it particularly hard to enter his parents bedroom where they died.
The title of the story comes from a slice of graffiti that is left on the wall in the men’s room of the supermarket where Brandon works. Chaon imagines where Patrick would be now, and what kind of updates he’d leave on bathroom stalls. Brandon doesn’t seem to care about much, he’s just taking the path of least resistance.
Death comes to this story quickly and makes Brandon feel less responsible with each passing. The people he knows and works with are just people, and it might be best to describe him as a person who breaths, eats, and goes to the bathroom. All the while he fills the narrative with other people that he has no feeling for one way or the other. Maybe the emotional wreckage that follows a death is too much for Brandon, and this story is about avoiding everything. What happens when you are left behind? Because Brandon certainly doesn’t know what to do.