Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Typist, I

Furious then to set it all down in type – to type it all down and set it there and there to have it set. His hair had been combed two days prior.

A man walks in as if it were an office. Good afternoon, he begins, but goes no further.

The man stops typing. Looking up, glancing, furtive little eyes weary but curious, perhaps, to see what type of thing said to him Good afternoon, a smile creases his swollen face and two teeth, flaxen each, appear behind his dried lips. Yes? he says, cordially. Yes?

The man standing near the door wipes with his hand his pants. There was nothing to rub thinks the man at the desk, there was nothing there to rub. Neither man says anything for a moment, both tempting the silence to coax him into speech. The silence fails, however, and the standing man begins again to rub the absent spot on his pants.

What is that you’re doing? the man at the desk asks. Why are you rubbing your pants?

A slight shiver seems to play on the cheek of the man by the door, a shiver that then snaps an eyelid shut in a heavy, frightened wink. What? he asks.

Your pants. You’re rubbing them. Is something the matter?

The man’s sudden turn towards the door seems to suggest that nothing is the matter, that, in fact, he is perfectly alright, and that as proof that this is so he is going to go, to leave and walk away, just in order to show how perfectly alright he is. The man leaves the office without uttering another word.

Turning back to the surface of his desk the man’s eyes begin to stumble and trip and shiver over the stacks and piles and mounds of typed upon pages and, like that, the man is back to his furious, fevered typing, his typing to set it all down and there to have it all set down.

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