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    Alex Rose

    13. Background Music

    By Alex Rose

    It was getting worse. Several times a week now, Marty Perchec found himself suddenly unmoored. He’d be standing in the checkout line at Fairway and his hearing would go murky; he’d bend down to leash the dog and his mind would spin to a blur like an electron, weightless.

    He consulted a doctor, who looked in his ear and told him it wasn’t vertigo.

    “I hug parking meters,” explained Marty. “I spill yogurt.”


    “I sit down to piss.”

    “What I’m saying is, you’re hyperventilating without knowing it. The excess oxygen makes you lightheaded.”

    Had Marty not been offended by the implication that his disabling symptoms were merely “in his head,” as though in his luxurious boredom he had nothing better to do than fabricate yuppie dysfunctions, he might have connected this prognosis with the recurrent back spasms, the cold sweats, and the fact that he’d nearly passed out during a programming session a day earlier.

    He’d been previewing a track for three corpulent execs from a footwear company when his heart began to palpitate with such ferocity he thought he was having a stroke. . . . Read More.

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