desire to manipulate matter.

Two of them were here; and, then, they weren’t.

And, she never met either but she knew them both.

It made her feel sad; it made her efforts feel useless.

And, both feelings felt indulgent, so she resented the emotions, to boot.

“That’s really irksome.”

“That I’m unafraid to say, ‘I don’t know’ ? “

“You could speculate.”

“But, if I did not tell you, ‘I don’t know’ before speculating then I devalue the currency of my words at large.”

In American English, the most beloved sentence laid upon ears may be, “That’s my baby.”

The refrigerator moans through its vocal coils like a horny impotent cooling out.

It boils down to a teleological desire to manipulate matter.

I’m not your adversary; I just enjoy being adversarial.

Call me ‘the devil’s advocate,’

pleas/e.

Pleased to meet you.

I got no-name to guess.

successfully arching

Sentinel surveillance of the syndromic and the asymptomatic.

A coalesence of convalescence conjuncting with a tyranny of averages.

Handmade beds; and, piles of filled in journals.

The area below a curve

; &,

a line above a

word.

Gating shepards watching Anafortas exploiting the incomplete mantle of Parcival’s effulgence.

The ecstatic trauma of successfully arching the black swan of your black sheep dreams is becoming the dog chasing a squirrel. Knowing not what to do if it actually caught it.

epistles held in chester drawers

Strange, dynamic current/s; accusations of dereliction of duties.

So, they transcend from surge to suppression.

Chai spice fragrance in one room; lavender and shæ in the other.

.comingle.

Dragon breath vapours pour forth from the room where a steaming bath is drawn.

And, food is around the wall; but, every bite is like you chewing ice next to me.

But, they don’t die; and, now, they have to live with it.

Just like the sporting, courting gentleman he was, she was informed of his intentions by writing. Epistles held in chester drawers reserved for intimates.

Subterranean seattle alien nonsense blues

Looking like an ever-loving swine in sunglasses. Peacocking. Tail feathers all a’fan. Such a pretty fellow, just ask him.

I over hear a man dropping something in the parking lot. Cursing loudly.

Ten minutes later, he yells out at a neighbor’s squawking parrot, “shut up, you fucking freak.” Pandemic conditions do not become him.

~

“I’m just saying,” she not only, but also, says, “I’ve watched a criminal amount of cute animal videos this week. Like, if I was on the stand and used it as an alibi, it would go like this:

“Like, see your honor, my tablet history clearly shows I was four hours into binging six hours of watching cute cat videos when this crime was perpetrated.”

“Let the record reflect the witness is not guilty of this crime, but will be charged with something because of the egregious waste of time and countless brain cells. While I cannot formally find her in contempt, let the record show, this court sure holds her in contempt.”

“Like, I would not get a new job if these records of time spent watching were included in background checks.”

~

I hear the old man in the overhead apartment, creaking support beams in his pacing above me, while aggressively complaining at his phone. “Who wants to play a game,” I think. “What’s the creepiest pet name you can imagine?”

There is a cat named Mister Daddy. I know because I was in the house when it was naughty as I heard its owner crying, “No, Mister Daddy! No. That’s a bad Mister Daddy.” And, you know what? Mister Daddy, being a cat and all, just looked at this sweet girl like, “Ahh. I don’t care. Get outta my face.”

“Sounds like a real soul-shattering experience.”

“I lost sleep for a week.”

POW’s of an invisible contagion

The restaurant had been taken hostage by some invisible organism/s which may or may not be present.

The siege occurred five days ago.

Ever since the onset of the hypothetical, immediate threat of possible hostile occupation, the front of house staff has stared out the restaurant’s windows with tea saucer eyes like anxious animals in ASPCA advertisements.

Please, sir, won’t you come inside and have another?

Prisoners of a war that may or may not need fighting.

In the back of house there is a shell called the ‘skeleton crew’.

The chef runs the silverware through the industrial dishwasher twice when we run out of clean spoons with which to reset tables.

The absence of the spoon in her settings, distresses.

So, a hostess gets uppity when she runs out of spoons.

She gets especially uppity when it happens on slow days.

But, today it does not matter.

So, she cares not, just notes it needs doing and notes whose rotation it is to eventually do it.

Today there is no dishwasher. They called him off.

We take turns with the task.

She simply sets tables without spoons;

knowing full well, no diner will be seated at the incompletely set table for quite some time.

No patron will arrive to suffer this mild inconvenience.

Aesthetics suffer almost imperceptibly while the bottom line suffers devastating loss.

But, she goes through the motions automatically.

There is no need to increase hygiene standards.

That shit is always first and formost.

Global freakout or otherwise.

“Funny how the WHO’s commercial guidelines for handling this threat are exactly the same protocols we already follow,” she mumbles to the owner.

“Who do you think is actually the problem?” he asks, through a thick Vietnamese accent.

“Let’s all just wash our hands, not touch our eyes often, and get on with the business of being alive,” she thinks.

She brings him oatmeal with his favorite fixings, without being asked.

Just like everyday, she makes sure a table is spotlessly clean, disinfected with properly diluted commerical cleaning agents.

“What is the real price of convenience and luxury?” she wonders.

The hourly wage of one dishwasher’s full shift.

The daily hourly wage of a line cook and sous chef.

Two hours of a hostess’ time.

One hour of the second in server’s time.

The present guests receive the best service possible.

~

Everyone plays dead for fear of becoming dead if they don’t; but,

a few diehards refuse to sacrifice quality of life for speculative quantity.

And, she bebops, dreamily hosting the modest volume of today’s lunch service.

She notes a newly added sign over the hand washing sink at the server station.

It says: <insert restaurant name here> EMPLOYEES. PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS. IT IS GOOD FOR YOU <insert punctuated, smiley face here>

“No shit.”

She knows the sign is not for the benefit of the restaurant’s staff.

Your server is far more worried about catching something from you.

They wash their hands to keep you off them, not to protect you from them.

~

Her energy always turns over when the clock reads 3:33.

She doubts her shift will last this long.

Her focus refreshes at each daily 11:11.

This occurs approximately eleven minutes after her clock in today.

She renews herself everytime she recalls her own selfhood.

A startling state.

~

A man at the bar counter suddenly catches her eye.

Her mind wanders and the tray perched above her left hand, rocks like a drunkard trying to walk.

A drinking glass full of used water falls and shatters.

Bomb of contagion spraying soaking shrapnel.

It soaks her entire left side.

It sounded crisp. Quite pleasing.

It is her first time dropping a glass in the restaurant; and, she fears she might quite like breaking another.