behind the desk it is easy to act normal. easy to embody a normal that is anchored by a hysterical irony — a sweet rubber mask brushed away to reveal some eldritch horror, laughing and saying what did you expect?

still, we guide people around, we move with a sure grace, we answer questions fast and fluently. people say thank you, thank you. the sheer ability gained by training is pleasant, pleasant just to be in and to do. walking is pleasant, moving, doing tasks, being an authority on anything. it is difficult to admit this pleasure.

we are angry, but we are not angry; we are vulnerable, but we are anything but vulnerable. if we caught the illness today we would not believe it. how could we? we have been perfect today, perfect.

like finely wrought paper animals, we know that we will be impressive, then we will walk outside into the rain, and we will collapse.

each stack and shelf, each product and the axes which enclose it, become precarious and therefore adorable. clutch something bright blue to your chest. there is so much here; the abundance makes you dizzy. utopia, grotesquerie. catch yourself before leaning on anything. feel your body’s attunement to this space, its stubborn refusal to believe that anything will change.

it is the fact that you are not king that makes you king. it is the fact that you are trapped here, that the gods are already sheltered in their sphere, that anyone could seize you and cough in your face without repercussions, that keeps you holding tight to your claim. your capabilities will not be registered or remunerated; you know this. but they exist, outside of the corporate archive, and they will burn so brightly in the face of all these people that you will know they are fucking wrong.

counter-thesis: autophagy does not keep you warm.

counter-counter-thesis: you can totally win at capitalism, look, i did it, i got this certificate mailed to me, it cost £33.95.

every way you protect myself serves to make you more functional, more easily exploitable. but if you open yourself to the horror, each of a succession of horrors, you will be doing so alone. every time you invite it in it gets stronger.

you have visions of dying in corporate branded clothes, but unfailingly this makes you laugh, rather than cry. perhaps the funniest thing you can be is bad advertising.

you want to write a story: tonight we hold the city like a single taut banner and we roll it up, steadily, four to each side and an extra one on each corner, and as a slow line we carry it home. one with a final image that acts like we will call back in three years and someone will remember our names.

you want to turn this into the zombie apocalypse, so you can at least fund a good soundtrack.

i want this to be a convenience store. nice postmodern neon lighting. punctuated counter bells. plastic and tins and an expectation of noise. the things we sell have voices and they talk in the dark for months and months and months without anyone answering, and nobody covers them, and nobody touches them, and it’s sad, it’s sad, it’s sad.

Contemporary literature graduate, quizzer and tired leftist.

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