On Andrew Kenneally’s “No Leg to Stand On
by Eamon Byrne

This is a very amusing piece. It’s a piece which starts at a certain point, let us say P, and moves towards some other point by a series of other points, let us say P1, P2 … but never arrives at a finality.

Let us compare it with what you’d normally find between the covers of a novel at an airport newsstand.

A man leaves his apartment – in, say, a detective novel – and on his way through the plot passes through points P1, P2 … and finally arrives at a finality. And there are no shortages of finalities. He gets killed, or catches the killer, or seduces the femme fatale. But why should this be so? Why should he not encounter a greater number of intermediary points than the paltry P1, P2. that the writer has given him? Or more to the real point (which is implied by this piece), why should he ever get to P2 in the first place, since P1 is undoubtedly composed of a further series of intermediary destinations, P1a, P1b.., all of which contain their own series of sub-points, and which together would delay him interminably from reaching that finality? (Ah but, you might retort, there’s always the 1000 page novel; and its sequel).

Of course, assuming you’d want to do it (since it’s a comic mode we’re in), what would keep this Kharms-like insubstantial tapestry of fractals from falling into a heap? Well, what would keep a man who has no leg to stand on from falling down? The answer to that question, posed so amusingly by our author, is at the nub of our problem.

But I cannot begin to delve into it further without noting that, for starters, we are dealing with 3 ephemera here: he, you and the author; that the third of those implies the I; and that the I and the you together implies the we. It seems, in fact, that the he has been squeezed out by the we. We are the true ‘characters’ left ratiocinating over this poor schmuck ‘he’. And as it so happens, the ratiocination, being of the flash fiction sort, is kept short. But it could be longer, much longer, for I have no doubt the brevity is just a writer’s option exercised, that the writer is well aware of P1a1, P1a2 … (not to mention their heirs and siblings).

I am left assuming that to keep from appearing obsessive about it the author desisted from going into the matter further.

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