When I Get What I Want

Two stories explore the emptiness of desire.

Illustration by Kelly


I am pretty sure a bag of kettle corn or two is just what I need. I’ll get three. Because today I am going to be kind to myself. That is what the books say I should do and so that is what I will do. I will start by treating myself to whatever I want. Here I come, fancy cheese. I am sure that the most expensive cheese in the store is exactly what I need. I am pretty sure that if I pair this cheese with this olive bread, this will be the ticket. I bet some figs will go well with this, too, and some honey. I will need a few bottles of this blackberry grape drink too. Also, cookies.

But what if it’s these bath puffs that would make me feel better? These bath puffs are on special for a dollar. I bet this whole Jacuzzi-sized bin of bath puffs would be just what I need. But this Longhorn section interests me, too. If I started collecting Longhorn stuff, shot glasses and travel mugs and foam horns and pens and plush football rope toys, I would feel full of heart. If only I felt less indifferent to Longhorns, or if I were from Texas, or into football, or any kind of sports, or if their team color were a deep midnight blue, or if there were a Ryan Gosling section, if I could get a Ryan Gosling trucker hat or snuggie or baby bib, then, surely, things might work out for me.

There is a jewelry store within the store, I see, and I could imagine that jewels might make me feel a way that I’d prefer, but these don’t really appeal to me. It seems like they don’t appeal to anyone. There is no one at the grocery-store jewelry store, which saddens me for the jewelry-store man and, though I could go and clean out his jewelry store because I have given myself that permission today, sadness is to be avoided.

Probably if I swept down this whole aisle of vitamins—just cleared the shelf off right into my cart—that would work. Or if I went down the office-supply aisle. I love office supplies. Office supplies always make me feel better. Or what if I bought all of the gift cards in the store, a thousand of them, and gave them to all of my Facebook friends? Giving always makes me feel good. Or what if I went and ordered a cake the size of my living room? That would surely be great. A giant cake and all of the flowers in the flower section. And balloons. All the balloons. And all of the patio furniture, plus all of these giant metal roosters. Actually, they might not have enough metal roosters here. I only see about twenty, and some of them are small. I’ll have to order more roosters from other stores. Because I’ll bet, if I could get enough of these roosters to cover the whole front yard, nothing unwanted would ever get in.


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  • youngfridays January 12th, 2012 7:16 PM

    this is so great omg

  • missblack January 12th, 2012 7:16 PM

    “What you really want, above all, is a universe in which you would actually meet Ryan Gosling, for real, where he wants you bad, girl, and you say Sorry Ryan Gosling, but I love another.”

    Crazy how true that is.

  • Missy January 12th, 2012 7:33 PM


  • Lizzy January 12th, 2012 7:36 PM

    Hahahaha! Made me LAUUGH, but I’m not sure I’d reject Ryan Gosling….

  • chilljill47 January 12th, 2012 7:40 PM

    this. is. perfection.

  • koolkat January 12th, 2012 7:52 PM

    this is amazing

  • SweetThangVintage January 12th, 2012 8:15 PM

    Oh goodness. This made me laugh! Perfection.

  • bummersummer January 12th, 2012 8:18 PM

    That was just amazing, but honestly I don’t know if I’d ever be able to turn down Ryan Gosling…

  • MrPhoenix January 12th, 2012 8:46 PM

    Fuck I want Ryan Gosling.
    Also, that was such a perfect example of well crafted train of thought writing.
    Fuck I want Ryan Gosling.

  • frankenchick January 12th, 2012 8:48 PM

    oh my god, this is wonderful.

  • Narnie January 12th, 2012 8:57 PM

    So so good. If only there was a universe where my life could be “rocking to my satisfaction” and I’d be able to turn down Ryan Gosling.

  • youarebananas January 12th, 2012 9:00 PM

    this is one of my favorite things you’ve published!! who is the author/why is she anonymous? stunning, i want to read more!

  • giovanna January 13th, 2012 1:11 AM

    What do you recommend that I read if I loved the two stories by Elizabeth Crane published here? Thank You. <3

    • Anaheed January 13th, 2012 1:21 AM

      Lorrie Moore & Jincy Willett.

      • Amy Rose January 13th, 2012 2:24 AM

        specifically, jenny and the jaws of life.

      • Anaheed January 13th, 2012 4:03 AM

        YES!!! I love that book so much.

  • ale January 13th, 2012 4:53 AM

    girl, this is great.

  • LA January 13th, 2012 11:58 AM

    this is great

  • Susann January 13th, 2012 1:04 PM

    “Roosters” was just perfect – I love the sarcasm and honestly, I sort of felt that way when I was grocery shopping today..

  • bridiebird January 13th, 2012 3:31 PM

    these are brilliant. then again, what do you post on rookie that isn’t? i think i’m going to remember that first one for a long time. made me think.

  • warreno January 13th, 2012 3:40 PM

    Re Roosters -

    If you scatter the kettle corn in your yard, I bet it’ll attract all the roosters you could ever need.

    Problem solved!

    The stream of consciousness used here reminds me very much of what’s used to illustrate the concept of Buddhism’s second Noble Truth, basically that we exist in an unending cycle of craving for the next best thing, whatever that might be, and this cycle of craving causes endless dissatisfaction.

    But ‘Guest’ expresses it much better.

  • ravenflamingo January 15th, 2012 4:21 PM

    This was beautiful but for some reason it also depressed me. :/

  • Youtakeawaymydanceandyoukillme January 15th, 2012 6:44 PM

    This is the best thing I’ve ever read in my whole life. I’m crying tears of joy.