not what we need now
Charlie is well aware that he manufactures reasons to move further and further away from Anna, to fail at what may be the most important challenge of his life. He may have already failed, might have been trying to fail from the get-go.
not from what I can see
Roger manufactures synesthesia, at least he tries to. He longs for colors that you can smell, frozen frames of city life that burst with cacophony, textures that press against your cornea.
not made for your little hand
In the weeks after the accident, nearly everything reminded Charlie of the boy. It seemed that every object he saw reminded him of a toy he had given the boy, or would have given the boy, or wished he could still give the boy. The world manufactures the most workaday objects in the shapes it remembers from its childhood.
not because I want it to end
That Christmas is a bitter one for Helen. As Charlie manufactures yet another excuse to see her one more time to explain that he can never see her again like this, probably, she feels a simultaneous desire to give him whatever he wants, whatever he needs from her right now, and a sad repulsion from her longtime lover, who is beginning to take the form and attitude of a broken man. All the Santas and elves and caroling and window displays did nothing to lift her spirits or her deep sense of inner conflict.
not only because of you
Maggie manufactures a pretense to visit an old boyfriend, Tom Wilson, in New York. Married now, bald, two kids, round around the middle, making decent money in the insurance industry, nice little house in Connecticut, and a country club circle of friends. He shows her pictures, he buys her a couple of drinks. She indulges in a little nostalgic tourism. She doesn’t mention the illness. When he asks her if she’s happy, she doesn’t know what to say, instead she sort of half-laughs. Neither one of them can really remember why they decided to break up. It was so long ago. He pats her hand, and says not to worry, that he’s not really happy either, but it goes how it goes. And then, Maggie adds, it’s gone.
not one to ask why
Johnnie has a chemist friend who manufactures LSD variants in a basement lab in Queens. He stops in a for a visit, and later finds himself weeping on a highway bridge, reciting poetry by William Blake and watching the lights stream by.
not in my name
Howard hates demonstrations of all kinds. He manufactures reasons to get out of teams working on security preparations for political conventions, WTO meetings, anything of that nature. It’s not that he disagrees with the protesters. They are often more right than the government that employs him. It’s all of the variables involved, all of the opportunities for the wrong thing to happen. It makes him hyperventilate just to think back to riding the subway during the Republican convention, sweating in a blue pinstripe suit, profiling everyone in sight, not to mention the risk of a common airborne virus.
not for us to know
When asked what does for a living, Roger sometimes says that he manufactures daydreams for a market of people who feel a need to be distracted from banality of their lives.
not time enough to tell you
Out for a night at a superb sleazy mud-wrestling joint with an old punk rock friend and recent responsible parent and who now manufactures a line of baby toys, implements, and apparel for hipster babies (batik tie-dyes, pacifiers that say “boob man”, steal-your-face blankies, leather onesies, and things of that nature), Johnnie reels off lists of new cocktails he has tried, designer drugs he has sampled, and varieties of sexual encounters he has engaged in since their last meet. The mud-wrestling is pretty hot, serious grudge match fantasy material. No, Johnnie tells his friend, no kids yet, nothing like that in the cards, at least as far as he knows.
not what you long for
Howard lives in a country that cyclically manufacturers and consumes its own dreams.