Franchise growth splices conformity with judgment set in patterns, civil agreements like consumer surveys in exchange for coin, or taxes for safety, or bread for toast.
Leather chairs fixed in cross stitch, humble the dignitaries spine by bending a supposed lean back affirmation, fingers intertwined and placed in their lap, suggesting sinister knowledge and bone density tests. He addresses people as Buddy, Folks, or the-one-with-blond-bangs. He pulls them in for a handshake, a technique he’d learned from watching YouTube videos on dominant body language. His eyes anchored, following pupils and searching for his reflection, in the black.
Why would humanity invent peace if purity means control?
Four permanent markers bouqueted together with a rubber band, tempt instant gratification, promising symbols that’ll last forever like cave markings but instead, after uncapping the markers, fingertips are dressed in black, and disappear after several washes.
The lobby showcased drywall, secured art against the plaster, unable to be removed lest the foundation go with it. The pieces were commissioned from a portraitist, who painted in the Cubist tradition, trading lopsided green blobs for noses and parallel red rectangles for protruding cheekbones. Around the portraits were reception chairs layered in black vinyl, alerting movement by squeaking as cotton dockers and wool pants-suits, worn by anxious consumers, rubbed their appendages against the cushions. This arrangement displaced the thoughts of clients, who judged the obscure features, prompting them to ask, when seen by management, what does it mean?
A color scarcity, constricted in the white of their eyes. Consumed with escapism, the strains of middle-class-historical-bastardom. She pinched his hand, asking how much time was left before morning. Her hair framed the sides of the toilet with Ramen scraps drumming the water, dry heaves echoing out from the basin. A moisture she reserved for tears, pockmarks that poked like burrs. 5am disposed sunlight against the blinds, her lungs gasping for knowledge. He went to the sink, turned on the faucet, and filled a glass with water.
Pour it out,”she said. “I want you to be pure.”

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