The City


On Monday, the Newspaper headline says: Bomb. There is a picture of an explosion on the front page. That looks like our city, I think. The explosion looks like a mushroom. They call it a mushroom explosion, Clark says. Oh Clark, I say, you haven’t checked the fax machine. I didn’t know it was on, Clark says. The fax machine is always on, Clark.

There are two faxes from Mr. Ridgley. He wants ten acres of land on the South Island and fifteen acres on the North Island. You told me he wanted ten acres of land on the North Island and fifteen acres of land on the South Island. That is what I said, Clark says. Oh Clark, I say, you should really wear a collar shirt to work.


On Tuesday, I see two young men hitting an old man with a stick. Sally used to tie me to a chair and hit me with a stick. She called it My Game. I liked My Game. Are you playing My Game, I ask the two young men. The two men look at me and spit on the ground. They shake their heads and walk away.

The old man is on the ground and he has his hands over his face. The old man has blood on his shirt and he has cuts on his arms. You should get that cleaned up, I say. You look terrible. Some old people don’t like looking young and successful, I think.


On Wednesday, there is a lot of noise on the street and the fax machine at the office is broken. The fax machine is broken, I say. I know, Clark says. Are you picking your nose, I ask Clark. No, Clark says. I think you were picking your nose, I say. We will have to get the fax machine fixed, Clark. I think you should call the repair men.

All afternoon, Clark and I wait for the repair men. The repair men do not come. Did you call the repair men, I ask Clark when it is dark. Yes, Clark says. I left a message. They didn’t answer? No, there was nobody there. The noise outside is still loud. It is difficult to work in a busy city, I think. I shake my head. I should take a day off, I think. Sally can tie me to a chair and beat me with a stick.


On Thursday, the people in the street have yellow skin. Some of the people have holes in their bodies. Why do you have a hole in your arm, I ask an old lady who looks like my grandmother. She looks at me and giggles. She has no teeth and her breath is very bad. I think you should brush your teeth, I say. She is not my grandmother, I think.

When I get to the office, Clark is not there. Where is Clark, I wonder. The fax machine is still broken. Why isn’t Clark here, I wonder again. I look for Clark under his desk and in the closet. He is not there. Hmph, I think. Maybe he has yellow skin like the other people in the street. Living in the city is odd, I think. I should take a day off, I think.


On Friday, there is nobody on the street and it is quiet. I cannot take today off, I think. There are very few days when it is quiet in the city. I wonder if Clark will be in the office today. I say goodbye to Sally and walk to work. Hmph, I think, Sally did not say goodbye. I shake my head. Life in the city is too busy for everyone.

On the street, two men who do not look like me come toward me. They have sticks in their hands. They speak to me in a language I do not understand. No thank you, I say. I keep walking. But the men are rude. They do not let me keep walking. I look at the men. They have strange uniforms on. Oh, I say, you must be from the fax machine repair shop. Of course, I think. Yes, the fax machine is broken. I can show you the way. I begin to walk but the two men want me to go some other way. Maybe it is a shortcut, I think.

The two men lead me onto a narrow street. We have to walk single file. I have never walked this way to work before. Maybe it is faster. At the end of the street, I see a man face up in the street. He is smiling. His skin is yellow. I know that man, I think. Oh yes, it is Clark. I call to Clark. Clark, I say. I knew you had yellow skin. I knew that was why you weren’t in the office yesterday. Clark does not say anything. He does not look at me. I shake my head. This city is getting too big, I think.

The two men push me against the wall. They talk to me in a language I do not understand. No, I say, the fax machine is in my office.


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