The man at my desk begins with a letter, reveling in something which may not end. Our typewriter sits in the corner, collecting dust, while I sit in another. There is one of us trembling, oddly grinning while the other twirls. Jagged expression fills the spaces between us. Bemusement sculpts my thoughts as I watch a slitted vein coalesce between his eyes.

The letter opener he grips will shiver as he tears open the note. I repress my urge to fabricate, to look over his shoulder. To do so is to grip his fingers strangely while he reads aloud his soundless words.

The man in the letter will lay some claim, however fragile, to knowing but one of the both of us. And so I panic when I fail to recognize that author’s name, but hide it well. So must the man at my desk, no longer at the desk, who goes about his business in spite of what fills the room. Rot.

One of us follows the other into the breakfast nook, where a plate from the night before rests beneath a half-eaten loaf of bread. The sour, dry sensation filling my mouth is the unwelcome rendering of something that I’ve already forgotten, as I stop the man from picking up his knife. He insists that it’s for the butter, but its serrated edge tells me otherwise.

Relinquishing beneath the pressure of my glare, we gaze out the window together. He begins to insist that our gardener is stealing our peaches but I pretend not to believe him, with that passive hostility I’m known to express. Eyes widening, he jabs my finger furiously upon the glass pane, smudging it on one side as something jabs back from the other. But it’s not a gardener, I’m prone to point out, as I open the door.

These three misfits. The chants resonate through the empty strip mall as we traverse it later that afternoon. My skin burns as one of them ruptures the scabs beneath my cardigan, with a grip that once again tiptoes towards violence. His wild mutterings peel off as he drifts towards a nearby department store mannequin, cast aside beneath a dead palm tree. I watch with distasteful glee as its head tears from its socket, somewhat conscious of my violent fetish for pale faceless features on porcelain skin.

By the time he’s finished, we’ve disappeared beneath the plastic tree canopy beside the abandoned food court.


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