by Joe Kletz

There are 346 holes in the tile in the ceiling directly above my head. The next one has 283. It’d be easier to count them if they were all uniform, and I could utilize high school Algebra. There is no X, and I have no idea what Y is. I spend too much time staring at the ceiling. The television is on but the holes are more interesting. The glow from the box is warmth, and the noise is company. Soon I’ll be unable to count anymore, as I slip deeper into my alcoholic state. I won’t eat dinner again tonight. I’ll drink several beers and lay on the couch and resume count. Will I be productive? When? I can’t spend all night counting though. It’s past midnight and must be up early tomorrow to ride the train to the metropolis for my appointment. Five days a week I go there. Meeting the professionals who spend a minimum of eight hours (often 10, occasionally 12 or more) on their surgery. Delicate and experimental, they perform. Bit by bit, the routine surgery goes according to their plans. Every day, they remove more of my soul, more of my dream, and replace them with artificial limbs like worthlessness and inferiority. I fight the process with tooth and nail, but secede in favor of meager salary and promises of “growth”.

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