Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spots and Smiles and Scratches

Just before he stood up he noticed a spot on his pants. He was always noticing spots: on people's cheeks or on his shoes or over there against the wall. He never knew what to do when confronted with a spot, and so whenever he noticed a spot he would smile wanly, scratch his chin for a moment, and then try, with varying degrees of success, to go about whatever he had been doing prior to having noticed the spot.

So, having noticed a spot on his pants just before standing up, he smiles, scratches his chin, and then, slowly, arises from where he had been sitting. He looks about for a moment and then shifts uncomfortably. What was it I was standing up for? he thinks to himself. His eyes scan the room for some clue to what he had planned to do once standing – a bookshelf, a closet, shoes, a porcelain bowl with a spoon sticking out, an overcrowded desk, and then, as if from nothing, a spot. He is neither alarmed nor impressed by the spot’s appearance, but instead smiles wanly and scratches his chin. He tries after a time to discern what it was he was about to do prior to noticing this stray spot but, as so often happens, notices a small spot resting somewhere near his bed, and thus breaks into yet another smile and scratch.

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