Home > An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing #1)(4)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing #1)(4)
Author: Hank Green

In addition to being a better apartment steward than I, she was also a much better relationship steward. All the weirdness in the relationship stemmed from me. I actively stopped her from talking about serious stuff. If it weren’t for my issues, we would have “moved in together” a long time ago.

“I brought you a cup of coffee,” she said softly, in case I wasn’t already awake.

“And after years of living together, you haven’t noticed that I never drink coffee?”

“This is not true.” She put the coffee on my nightstand. “You only drink coffee on very, very bad days.”

She sat down on the side of the bed. I turned to her with a big ol’ question mark on my face.

“April, this robot thing has gotten a little weird.”

“You know about Carl?”

“Why did you give him that stupid name?” she asked, exasperated.

“You know about Carl.” It wasn’t a question anymore.

“I know about Carl—”

“Has Andy been bugging you?” I cut in before she could continue, annoyed that he couldn’t leave it until morning. Or, rather, late afternoon.

“Don’t interrupt, I let you sleep,” she demanded. “Andy has been calling all day and he is freaking out and he needs you to check your email. In there, you’ll find a number of important things to read, including several messages from local news stations and entertainment agents and managers. I don’t think this is the kind of thing you want to ignore, but I also don’t think it’s something to rush.”

Maya was the most effective talker I knew. It was like she wrote essays in her brain and then recited them verbatim. She once explained to me that she thought this was part of being Black in America.

“Every black person who spends time with a lot of white people eventually ends up being asked to speak for every black person,” she told me one night after it was too late to still be talking, “and I hate that. It’s really stupid. And everyone gets to respond to that idiocy however they want. But my anxiety eventually made me extremely careful about everything I said, because of course I don’t represent capital-B Black People, but if people think I do, then I still feel a responsibility to try to do it well.”

I never had any idea what to say when she talked about this stuff. I’m white and I was raised in a very white community. So I just said the thing that I’d heard you should say in situations like this: “That sounds really hard.”

“Yeah,” she replied. “Everybody has their hard parts. Thanks.”

“God, I hope you don’t feel like you have to represent all black people with me,” I said. “I hope you’re not, like, careful all the time.”

“No, April.” And then it was a long time before she continued. “I’m careful with you for different reasons.”

I was too afraid to ask what that meant, so I kissed her and then we went to sleep.

In any case, Maya’s efficiency of speech was extremely helpful in the maintenance of a relationship that I was subconsciously keeping on the knife-edge between casual and serious. She was capable of talking with her eyes and her body, but she mostly chose to use her mouth. I didn’t mind this.

“Maya,” is as far as I got before she put her index finger softly on my lips.

I said, through her finger, “Uh . . . are we gonna make out now?”

“No, you’re going to drink your coffee and check your email and not talk again to me or anyone else until you’ve brushed your teeth because your mouth smells like trillions of microorganisms. I have taken away your phone, you can have it back when you’re done with your email.”

She stood up off the bed without so much as a kiss.

“But I—”

She drowned me out as she walked to the doorway: “Stop talking! Read!” She closed the door.

Ten minutes later I was freshened up a little bit, sitting on the bed with my laptop. Read messages were blue, unread messages were white—“Important and Unread” was white for five pages. I had no idea what to do so I just searched for [email protected]” and that cleared things up pretty quickly. One of the fifteen messages he had sent me was titled “READ THIS ONE FIRST” and another was titled “READ THIS ONE SECOND” and a third, more recent email was titled “NO! THIS ONE! READ THIS ONE FIRST!”

Here they are, copied and pasted straight out of my inbox.


I’m sorry all of the emails I have sent today sound as if they were written in a demented frenzy. I value our friendship. Let’s try and keep that front of mind.



OK, so, whoa. I’m going to give you a quick rundown of everything that has happened in the last six hours. This is everything that isn’t conjecture. Carl didn’t just show up in New York, there’s one in pretty much every city on Earth. There are at least sixty Carls, photos of Carls are popping up everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires. People just stumbled across them, like we did, and people around the world have posted photos and videos on social media, yet somehow ours is the one that’s taken off. It has to be some kind of international street art project and you (we?) basically got the scoop. All of them went up without anyone seeing the installers and no one can find any surveillance footage. I’m sure they will eventually but they don’t have anything yet.

Everyone is calling them “Carls” because they didn’t have anything else to call them. It’s not like there’s an artist statement on foamcore glued to the sidewalk next to them. They’re playing our video on the news (without permission, I’ll add). Several news outlets have contacted me to talk about it. The video has already had more than a MILLION VIEWS! People love you!

Don’t read the comments.

I’ve already been back to Carl with a nicer camera to take some daytime footage. I got there before the crowds did, but it’s wild out there now. He’s a freaking tourist attraction!

I haven’t slept since you called me. I feel like a small dog is eating my eyeballs from the inside!



Hey, so did you know that my dad is a lawyer? Um . . . this is weird but, like, “our” video has gotten a million views already and it’s actually made some money and we need to figure out how to split it.

However, since I don’t think there’s any way to figure out exactly who contributed what to this video, and it’s safe to say that neither of us would have made it if it weren’t for the other, I am proposing a 50/50 split on the ownership of the video. I would also like to propose a 50/50 split on the ownership of my YouTube channel “Skamper2001,” which I named when I was eleven and am going to regret for literally the rest of my life. Final proposal . . . we should collaborate on future videos about Carl(s), but we can talk about that later.

I had my dad draw up a contract that says that we each own 50% of the video and are entitled to 50% of the revenue from it. It basically also means that I can’t do anything with the content without your approval, and you can’t do anything without my approval. I know this is dumb, but he’s a lawyer, and this is what they do. He would also like for me to propose to you that he represent you as your lawyer when we sue all of the major networks for using our video without permission. I told him to cool his jets, so his jets are currently on ice.

Just so you know, the video has, thus far, earned about $2000. So, basically, we’re rich.


A quick read through the rest of my inbox made me kinda wish I hadn’t listed my email on my portfolio website. There indeed were a bunch from entertainment managers and agents. Some people wanted me to know how much they liked my video. Some wanted me to know that, if I was going to be in a YouTube video, there were a number of things I could have done to improve my physical appearance and, really, why hadn’t I done that?

There was one that was very clearly creepier than the rest of the normal creepiness. It is amazing how disconcerting a single vile, manipulative person can be even if you have never and (hopefully) will never see them. The power that each of us has over complete strangers to make them feel terrible and frightened and weak is amazing. This was not the first time someone had made me feel this way, but it was the first time it had happened through the internet, and it was enough to make me want to withdraw from the whole thing for a moment. Just a moment, though.

There was a message from my dad. (Really, both my parents—they did this adorable tag team email thing. I swear they sat next to each other on the couch and wrote emails like it was a three-way call. They should make special tablets with two keyboards just for them.) It was sent like a long text message about how they thought the video was great and I sure looked tired and they couldn’t wait to see me at Tom’s wedding and was I getting enough sleep?

The only message that is long-term important in the story was one titled “You said it was warm?” I’ll just copy it directly for you.

You said it was warm?

Ms. May,

My name is Miranda Beckwith, I’m a graduate student in materials science at UC Berkeley. I watched your video this morning and found it both entertaining and fascinating. I was particularly interested when you referred to “Carl” as “slightly warm.” Of course, I’m sure your life is ridiculous right now, but knowing a bit about materials, and having seen Carl, it’s unusual for something that seems so heavy and shiny to not have a low thermal conductivity.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolute
» Demon Magic and a Martini (The Guild Codex:
» Two Witches and a Whiskey (The Guild Codex:
» Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (The Guild Codex:
» Three Mages and a Margarita (The Guild Code
» Knightfall (Tangled Crowns #1)
» The Lost Night
» Pride (The Elite Seven #2)