“But certainly in terms of settling down, like, this is kinda where I see myself for the long haul. There might be a few breaks in there, but average it out, and it’s going to be Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I love it here.”

“You could pick a worse place to settle down.”

“Oh, definitely.”

“People from the coasts are gonna start getting real jelly of our fresh water.”

“Yeah, we gotta snatch ourselves some property before people in California start getting ideas.”

*

“I don’t want you to act weird because you’re being recorded. Nothing you say here will be held against you in a court of law.”

“I killed a lot of people. I’ve killed a lot of people.”

“Oh my goodness, this just got a lot more interesting. My boyfriend’s a murderer!”

*

“Bleh. This is not my name.”

“How’d they spell it?”

“With a K and a Y. Is it even Caitlin at that point?”

“Is the tea cold enough now?”

“Yeah, I’ve burned my tongue a few times, so you might want to be careful. I don’t have feelings anymore, though, so I can drink boiling water.”

“Yeah, my soul left my body years ago.”

“Like I’ve said before, there is no ‘me’: I do not exist.”

*

“I just had a memory, though. I just remembered right after we went to Lost Valley, we walked up on the Sixth Street Bridge and we could see all of Milwaukee and I’m pretty sure I almost cried because I was so happy—well, I was also a little drunk—but just so happy.”

“I almost started crying, too.”

“I was just so perfectly contented to be where I was. I haven’t had—obviously, I’ve been that happy to be other places in the moment, like when I’ve visited friends—but I just felt totally a hundred percent happy and grateful with where and when and how I was. That happens to me often here. Maybe not to that level of emotional intensity, but for the first month after I moved here, I would almost start crying on the way to work—I would see the lake and downtown and I would just be like oh, wait! I don’t have to go back to Chicago. I can just be here.”

*

“And that’s why incest is the best way to avoid marital conflict.”

“Yep. Paperwork. Skip the paperwork. Marry your first cousin.”

*

“And deep-fried butter!”

“Deep-fried butter? They do do that at State Fair. See: city street festivals remind me, like, oh yeah, I’m from Milwaukee and this is great. Whereas going to State Fair reminds me that Milwaukee is in Wisconsin. You get, like, non-Milwaukee people. So much denim on denim. So much leather on leather. I see so many just like oil-painted wolf t-shirts. I love ‘em.”

“Leather belts. Assless chaps.”

“Ha! I have not seen those.”

*

“My grandma’s last name was Blackadder.”

“Wait! Like the snake? Is it like adder: A-D-D-E-R?”

“Yes. A snake?”

“Pretty sure they’re venomous. That’s a badass last name!”

“Yeah, they had, like, a castle, but they were all slaughtered. The women were taken and whatevered—went to a different clan. And that was the end of the clan formally.”

“Family history is very interesting.”

*

“So, what’s your idea?”

“Yeah, literally, my idea is whatever of this is—”

“—salvageable.”

“Salvageable, yes. Which, you know, I think we’re very interesting. But I’m talking about like, verbatim, transcribing a bunch—”

“Cool! Would you try to like follow a continuous sort of theme or topic or sort of like—it’d be sort of interesting—”

“Just sort of random—”

“Oh! Like ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,’ except with bits of conversation. Without, like, any sort of context or link in between?”

“Without any kind of anything.”

“It’s a cool artistic project.”

“It’s also kind of lazy, because then I don’t have to think of pretty adjectives and type them out, but—”

“Butts.”

Caitlin Gent

Caitlin Gent (’15) graduated with a writing major. She lives in Milwaukee and works in fundraising & development. When she’s not working, Caitlin is usually walking with a friend or singing in the kitchen. She likes to wax poetic about Wisconsin to anyone who will listen.

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