Excerpt for You Think I'm Serious, but I'm Joking by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

you think I’m serious,

but I’m joking

Georgia Tell

Copyright © 2018 by Georgia Tell

This is a work of fiction. The characters and events described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or to living persons alive or dead. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written permission of the publisher except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews.

ISBN 978-0-9995788-5-8

Published by Blue Hair Books

Visit author’s website:

Follow author on Twitter and Instagram: @GeorgiaTell


Part 1 – Public

The Life of Thomas Nowak




Part 2 – Private

those tiny dangerous inklings in your gut you get about a person are probably accurate

getting to the top

pruning is supposed to encourage growth

can I be the tree?

oh shit, never mind

giving up for the fifth time that day


eavesdropping on man demanding self-mutilation as proof of love with lines from Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.

Part 3 – Where the fuck are we?

no bigs

it’s not me

isaac and the knife

giving up childhood dreams

small and strong and smashed

I can’t just get over it and you can’t talk

a geometric kaleidoscope of sad / sad poem

you think I’m joking, but I’m serious

garden grows over the wall

Part 1


The Life of Thomas Nowak

When he is in the womb, Thomas doesn’t realize it.

He hears the big slow noises, and that’s all he knows.

His birth is uneventful.

The doctor, his father and his big sister Jackie greet him with more enthusiasm than he’s prepared for.

He cries.

He is good baby and a good toddler.

His parents’ neighbor, a childless and widowed Mrs. Brook, watches him.

Twice, she contemplates taking him and running away, but she grabs her keys and Thomas giggles at the sound.

Her body relaxes, and she smiles and waits for Mr. Nowak.

His first word is “Wommy.”

His mother squeals with delight and brags to her husband.

Little do they know, he is trying to say “Tommy.”

He learns “Mommy,” “Papa,” and “Wackie,” much to his big sister’s chagrin.

She tells all her friends at school the next day that he said “Jackie.”

First day of kindergarten, he lets go of his Mommy’s hand and strides forward.

He dresses up as Batman for Halloween, gets a mancala game for Christmas, and is the sidekick in the kindergarten play.

When he is fourteen, he falls in love with a girl named Rebecca.

She has red hair and freckles.

She holds his hand twice when they sit in front of school waiting to be picked up.

He picks dandelions for her.

His body feels alive.

He thinks about her in every spare moment.

He kisses her once.

Jared Werthing asks her to homecoming.

She says yes.

Thomas says he’s happy for her, but when he gets home, he shoves his head into a pillow and breathes raggedly for the rest of the night.

During senior year, Thomas asks a girl in his math class to prom.

She says yes.

She hangs out with her friends the whole time, because Thomas can only look at Rebecca and Jared dancing.

Thomas leaves Fresno at his first chance.

He goes to NYU.

He doesn’t do well his first semester.

Or the second semester.