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Management Has Decided You May Prefer to Hear Something Else at This Time

Bill Howell
From:   Porcupine Archery. Insomniac Press, 2009.


The recurring nightmare centers on a long weekend
inside a huge office complex. You used to work here
but a lot's changed. They've agreed to return your ID fob,
permitting you to attend a series of informal meetings.
This is on an explicit understanding: you won't be having
any original ideas. But dreams allow you extended periods
without sleep or nourishment. If you can meet enough people,
you'll earn enough points to get a new contract
on Tuesday. Most of these people are stern women
in purple culottes. Apparently they run the place. Food
is catered, there's no direct contact with the outside world,
nobody has a rollicking clue what season it is. Instead
of speaking, everybody uses telepathic email. It feels like
living in a bad movie except nobody's bothered to get
the rights. Then you notice you're missing an arm again.
As the place slowly consumes you, you realize: There's no
here here. You call home between meetings: "They've
announced nobody has to pretend to read scripts anymore."
Of course you're both being monitored to insure quality
control. Having decided to kill things later, a ghost
on the line whispers, the cat sleeps through Debussy.



Bill Howell's works copyright © to the author.


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