When I Get What I Want

Two stories explore the emptiness of desire.

Illustration by Kelly


Bed is the best place ever. Bed is big and soft and wide and absorbs all of your day into its pillow-toppy, flannel-sheety goodness. Bed is the place of love, food, TV, of good books and trashy magazines and kettle corn, bed is your workplace. Bed is where the action is. Bed is the place where nightmares go, the place that soothes aches, the place for dreams of Ryan Gosling that go like this: Hey girl. He really talks like that. Ryan Gosling says Hey girl, and you say Wow, I thought that was just the stuff of all our dreams, and Ryan Gosling says No, girl, it’s real, I was just thinking about how Camille Paglia once said…and you say You don’t have to say any more, and Ryan Gosling says Well, it’s just too bad you have a husband, and you say He’s OK, though, my husband, and Ryan Gosling says There’s not enough room for the three of us in this bed—unless that’s what you want, and you say No, that’s not my thing, and Ryan Gosling says What is your thing, girl, I want to make that happen, and you say This is my thing, and Ryan Gosling says Girl, I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about, and you say Just this, just talking to you, though that’s partly a lie. You wouldn’t totally hate it if there were some universe in which you and Ryan Gosling sex each other, or some universe in which he gives up his movie stardom to move with you to a nice old Victorian in Kalamazoo, though 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. Ryan Gosling tells you he could rock your world, and you say you are sure he could, but that your world is already rocking to your satisfaction, and Ryan Gosling tells you you’re killing him, girl, that you are the one for him, there will never be another, just let me kiss you on the neck one time, girl, and you are ever so slightly tempted by this, but you say, No, Ryan Gosling, it would never work out between us, I know what it’s like in your world. And Ryan Gosling says You are my world, and you say, No, you’re from a world where the rules are upside down, and Ryan Gosling says What are you even talking about right now, girl, and you say You can buy any crazy-ass thing you can dream up, you can have any woman you want, anytime, and Ryan Gosling says I only want you, girl, and you say I know you think that right now, or that you think that you think that, or maybe your smooth is just on autopilot and you don’t even know what you really think, and Ryan Gosling says You’re trippin’girl, but I still love you, and you say I’m sorry, and you go back into your sheets, and Ryan Gosling floats away, with a single tear running down his beautiful abs, and you roll over and spoon your husband and you might dream of dinosaurs devouring downtown Manhattan, but the bed will take part of it and the rest is up to you. ♦

Elizabeth Crane is the author of three collections of short stories. Her novel We Only Know So Much will be published in June 2012 by Harper Perennial.


1 2


  • 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.