Don’t Fight Don’t Win Don’t Surrender by Marisa Gearin

I am driving home from a dentist’s appointment. No cavities!. I turn on the radio and hear the opening notes of Taylor Swift’s new song.

She has had another breakup. This is nothing out of the ordinary. But when she begins to sing, I realize something is wrong. Her voice is different. Low. A little like Morgan Freeman.

I listen to the whole song, waiting to see if the radio host will make a comment about the change in Taylor’s voice. He doesn’t.

I get home and turn on the news. They aren’t talking about Taylor Swift. I check the internet. Nothing there either. Confused and a little nervous, I decide to call my brother. He answers the phone by saying, “Hello.”

“Have you heard Taylor Swift’s new song?” I ask.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Go listen to it,” I tell him.

“Okay.” I can hear the song, muffled, from the other end.

“What do you think?”

“Sounds pretty much just like her others,” he says.

“What! No!” I shout. “It’s totally different!”

He pauses. “I’ll get you her new album for your birthday,” he says, and hangs up.

“That’s not what I meant,” I say, and throw the phone on the couch.

I know now what I must do. I must ask Taylor herself. So I buy a ticket—a front-row ticket—to her concert the next night. I sit and wait through the first three songs. Before the fourth, she makes a generic comment about how pleased she is to be in this city. Her voice is still eerily deep. I choose this moment to act. I clamber onto the stage.

“Taylor, I need to speak with you,” I say.

“Yes, alright,” she says, and gestures for me to follow her backstage. The fans have stopped cheering, confused.

“Taylor Swift, I think something strange has happened to you.”

She nods sagely, and we stop in front of her dressing-room door. “You’re right. But I’m afraid I can’t explain it to you,” she says sadly. “I have to throw you in this abyss.” She opens the dressing-room door and I see the bottomless pit.

“Okay,” I say.

She picks me up and heaves me over the edge.

I scream—one sustained note. I am not afraid. All is clear.

Marisa Gearin was born at 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5th, 1995 at Lawrence General Hospital. Weight: 8 lbs 2 oz. Length: 19 inches.

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Filed under August 2014 issue, Uncategorized

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