Originally published in Willow Springs 82

From the author

Notes on “Emergency Instructions”

“Emergency Instructions” was inspired by the wonderful Spoon song, “Mystery Zone.” (I’ve been requesting the band play it live for years, unsuccessfully.) It’s a great song that I won’t begin to try and interpret; it’s about the mystery zone, after all. One of the lines that stuck with me was, “Times that we met, before we met, we’ll go back there [to the mystery zone].” The idea of having met someone before they become integral to our lives is fascinating. So is the possibility of taking future/present knowledge back to those times. But then, time travel has been done to death. My intention was to keep the story from descending into a melodramatic mess or simple plot twist. After realizing that, pairing a character’s emotional drive with the informational layout was a no-brainer.


Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I’ve been listening to lots of Spoon (obviously), enjoying Colorado breweries (wheats mostly), and spend lots of time with a rescue Maine Coon, Murphy. Maine Coons “trill” a lot, which mostly sounds like a hum. So Murphy hums when he jumps and eats and greets my wife at the door and best of all, when I’m done working at five. He’s a great coworker. Roger from accounting never hums at 5pm. He’s a jerk.


About R.M. Cooper

R. M. Cooper’s writing has appeared in dozens of journals including Adroit, Baltimore Review, Best American Experimental Writing, Denver Quarterly, Fugue, Passages North, Redivider, and Wisconsin Review and has received awards and recognition from UC Berkeley and American Short Fiction. Cooper lives in the Colorado Front Range is the managing editor of Sequestrum (www.sequestrum.org)