a death in the fishbowl

A potted succulent made a sudden appearance in their footpath, after losing its balance along the edge of the fire exit. Apologies rang from the Heavens. Novice tones attached to brick, classified by the person who lives there. They stepped over clay flecks and dirt speckled with perlite, directing attention off their eyelines, into corners, tree branches, candy wrappers. She loved time. He hated every second. A window jamb announced fresh air. Bird chirps were berated by helicopters commissioned by the hospital. He read the name aloud, advertised on its door. She reassured him it’s a lot of money up there. It was the ability to understand transactions that kept their relationship together.

An email abbreviated with Christine sets the bargain. Read in declarative terms the expectation is obvious, but in contrast with the human experience, contradictions pursue anxious queries. The potential employee questions the truth and Christine responds with: see previous email. The potential employee asks Christine if she’s an AI. She suggests they read the previous email and pay attention to the instructions this time.

“Are you tired?”
“Should we go to bed?”
“I think I’m going to sleep on the couch…tonight.”
“How come?”
“I…I…just…I know how you get when I have to go to the bathroom 5 times a night.”
“What do you mean?”
“I feel bad waking you up?”
“What’s going on with us?”
“I don’t know.”
“Me either.”

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