Wasn’t McSweeney’s named for a missing aunt? Somebody told me the story.

Or wait, it was an uncle, and he wasn’t missing, only his name was missing, or his letters were.

No, his name was McSweeney. He’d been missing for 56 years. He wrote postcards from his exile, but he sent no return address, so no one knew how to find him and call him home. The postcards kept arriving. Soon people went out searching for him. Wherever he was sounded better than where they were, and sometimes they caravanned off in groups or individually, as a quest, but they couldn’t find him, or even recall what he looked like.

The name began to take on the significance of something, anything, better: a higher art, a deeper love, a longer run, that which we strive for, but which may always elude us. McSweeney’s.

Also McSweeney’s is supposed to end. There’s a stop to it, arranged in the days of its birth. The end is attached to a number, but no one knows the number’s meaning. It could refer to a year or an age, a prediction, an alignment. Since we don’t know, McSweeney’s can’t end. McSweeney’s is the thing we will always long for, yet have.