"If you had answered me the first time I asked, you wouldn't have spoken that way to me," declared Mumph as he sat holding the piece of tape and still looking for the strand.
"If I had answered you the first time you asked, I would have answered with greater curtness because I was so annoyed I had to hold myself back from responding at all and grit my teeth like you're doing right now I can see it and don't just dismiss my observation as being part of my way of speaking to you. You have as much of a claim to grit as the rest of us," retorted Lilactic windshield-wiping her hair off her forehead.
"I don't know if that is necessarily true. I consider it no different than those times I've been lectured about how being assertive and asking again and again will wear people down and they will eventually resign themselves to giving you what you want just to get you off their back. Biting off the face is more like it and scraping you off the bottom of their shoe is more like it," Mumph muttered staring down at his crotch to see if the coffee stain had faded any and it had but not nearly enough.
"When was the last time the office custodian service came by to take our trash? I could swear it's been weeks but I know it's probably more realistically like a couple of days. I haven't seen them? Have you?" asked Lilactic straightening in her chair and wincing from getting poked by something sticking through the back of it and into her blouse.
"Rest of who are you talking about?" Mumph inquired while the word orgy ejaculated through his skull.
"What?" she asked distractedly as she maneuvered her back to adjust the quality of the pain she was experiencing from whatever was cutting into her back above or below her bra clasps.
"You said the rest of us and I wanted to know who are this rest of us?" he clarified as the words pretzel rods clattered about his cranial chamber.
"I mean the rest of us in the office," she proposed as she thought about the last time she saw someone from the tenth floor as she thought about rocking in her chair to work the push and pull of the object into her back below it was below it on her back into her back.
"You mean the rest of the world, that's what you mean really isn't it?" he insisted all the while the image of a pop tart broken into pieces slapped the inside of his brain.
"No, just the rest of the office. You don't have to worry about the rest of the world - at least not this time anyway," hoping her rocking was not noticeable enough to garner a comment from Mumph.
Lateral moves the positioning of the badges faces harder to recognize lateral moves until after they happen after they move harder to face harder faces hardening and softer in their haziness a nostalgic resentment the redundancies all those redundancies clouding up the rows of snapshots inside the drawer in the corner of the eye positioning lateral moves the peeling badges peeling getting under to make their lateral moves peelings stuck to each other peeling its the rest of them peelings stuck to each other the rest of them of convincing the rest of them that that is how it happened after it happened lateral moves the positioning of the badges faces harder to recognize harder the rest of them harder convincing the rest of them.
"Lately lately how late," she continued with the prodding and the poking and the rub a dub dub with a sharp pinch in a pinch staying awake above it was above it through her blouse into the muscle, "before we know it what we thought is put off arrives to put us off some more for the very next day after this one ending sooner than expected not quickly as we'd as I'd like it to be answered and wondering if anyone the rest of the world is out there or anyone from the tenth floor comes around anymore seems like months but it's actually more like a couple of weeks but it's actually more like barking up the wrong tree me that's doing the barking and the howling that just keeps coming out of me and never quits because I don't want to be called a quitter by anyone else of the rest of the world barking up the wrong tree because I keep telling myself not to be a quitter because I keep telling myself that the rest of the world keeps telling me not to be a quitter still barking up the wrong tree as I keep howling and telling myself that I am a confident person confident in having seen once or maybe even twice the rest of them disappear up that tree as I keep telling myself that I saw the rest of them fly away and keep barking up that wrong tree because I keep telling myself that my howling brought some of the rest of them most of the rest of them back to the branches and so that is what I am confident about telling myself as I keep telling myself as I keep barking up the wrong tree while no one listens. Are you listening to me?"
Without looking at her while looking at the same coffee stain the same shade of staining the same fabric the same crotch, Mumph hollowly remarked, "I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention while I calculated the percentage of your insincerity."
"You bastard," Lilactic said pushing back on the needling needling her in her harder layers.
"Asking and asking doesn't get it. Only like you said it only gets what you and I keep telling ourselves. You keep asking me if I wonder about it and I don't wonder anymore about the tenth floor and about our trash cans overflowing and when was the last time. When was the last time? Nah, not going to wonder. Already have the snapshots in the drawer in the corner of the eye right on the edge of the corner where I keep telling myself it's nothing and it is it is something in the corner of my eye bringing the trash bags don't see the hands unfolding them opening them up wider and deeper trash bags following behind me just in the corner of my eye following."
- Max Stoltenberg