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Esquire just published a short story written by James Franco titled "Just Before the Black."

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"If you lived in the olden times, what would you do?" I ask Joe.

Joe has to think about it. He is large, and his weight spreads from his belly across the seat, like it was a plastic sack full of liquid, rolling in layers upon itself.

"Which olden times?" he asks, and it's like a boar's grunt, a deep thing, from the thick part of his throat.

"Like, King Arthur, with knights and horses."

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Fatass thinks. I can hear it, rust-worn gears flaking and groaning slowly into motion, even smell it, yellow smoke emanating from his skull.

There are a ton of short, Carveresque sentences, and the answer to the question "Would you rather be gay or be a girl?" It doesn't make me look forward to Franco's upcoming collection of short stories, to be honest: This is just another example of the kind of fiction that launches out of MFA programs, only to be ignored by everyone. You trip over this shit everywhere, and you learn to ignore it. Unless, of course, it was written by someone named James Franco.