I was chatting with a girl at a cocktail party last weekend and she asked me, “If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only take three possessions with you, which ones would you pick?”
“That’s pretty tough,” I said. “I guess my first-edition copy of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, James Merrill’ s Collected Poems, and my lucky Sonic Youth T-shirt.
Well, it turns out the girl was a government research scientist. It’s a long story, but basically when the drugs in my cocktail wore off, I woke up completely naked on a sandy strip of land in the middle of the ocean. A few hours later a jet plane whizzed by and parachute-dropped the record, book, and shirt onto the shore.
I realize now that I definitely could have chosen better items.
“The last three days have been hell. I have no food, shelter,or medicine. The Sonic Youth T-shirt has an enormoustear through the front. It’s pretty cool-looking, and it shows I’ve had the shirt for a long time, since before Sonic Youth got big. But the tear lets in a lot of cold air,and the larger insects keep getting trapped in it.
Every few hours I flip through the Merrill anthology in the hope that one of his poems will be about fire building or water purification or how to make medicine, but so far they’re all useless.
I spent yesterday morning tying the Bob Dylan record to a stick with weeds and swinging it over my head to try to receive radio waves. I don’t remember why I thought that would work.
If I had asked for a Bob Dylan CD, I could have at least used the reflective surface to maybe heat up some sand. I’m not sure what that would accomplish, but at least I’d feel like I was doing something.
This morning I ate the poetry book and the shirt. Tonight, I’m going to try to eat the record.
Let me tell you some more about this island. During the daytime, the sand is so hot that I need to constantly hop from foot to foot to prevent my feet from getting burned. At night it’s below freezing. There are no trees. There’s just sand, weeds, and some kind of volcano. Every fish I’ve caught so far has been poisonous.
I just realized that, technically, my house counts as a possession. I could have asked for my entire house.
I don’t even like Bob Dylan. I just wanted to sound cool.
Excerpted from Ant Farm by Simon Rich. Copyright © 2007 by Simon Rich. Excerpted by permission of Random House Trade Paperbacks, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.