Jane Confronts the Problem of Martin

Posted on February 11, 2004 by Jenna

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People die. People die in droves. There’s horror and cruelty and hunger and disease. Little children laying in piles with hands twitching. Dogs locked up in basements until they starve. Stuff like that.

“Let’s visit everyone in the universe and fix their lives!” Jane says.

“I’m busy, ” Martin says.

In a specialty program for difficult teens, the staff force a recalcitrant boy to lay still, face down, for six months, save for meals, sleep, and ten minutes of stretching an hour. In Nebraska, Brandon Teena is violated and murdered for the audacity of claiming a male identity.

“Come on.”

“I’m busy,” Martin explains.

Statues of the Buddha crumble. Soldiers torture prisoners of war. An angry and desperate crowd razes a museum.

“Now?” Jane asks.


Jane sits down and sulks. “Sometimes I don’t think you want to fix everyone’s lives.”

“I don’t,” Martin says. “I want to make their lives hard. I want to push people until they break. It’s cool. Sometimes it makes them better.”

“But what about the dead?”