Charles Baxter, "The Next Building I Plan To Bomb"

A man finds a piece of paper with that phrase on it and the crude drawing of a pillared building. And he’s like, what should I do with this?

(from Believers)

Well, honestly, I was kind of hoping something would blow up. Not a lot happens, but really, that’s OK. The guy who finds the note shows it to friends, cops, his shrink, and nobody knows what to make of it. There’s not even a consensus as to which building that is on the paper. But the various guesses are routinely followed by some white space. It’s probably supposed to be profound, or deadpan. But I’m hearing a slide whistle. You’ve slipped us a touch of broad comedy, Mr. Baxter!
It’s funny how this note, this possibly harmless little doodle, inspires the narrator to examine his life a little bit. Not to any extreme end, mind you. Like I said, not a lot happens.

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