It so happens I’m sick of being a man if this is what it means. I won’t be home today or at the office either. I’ve been summoned and nothing else matters. Permit me to narrate. The streets are gridlocked with people running the frantic errands that pass for living, as if certain numbers of items had to be dislocated from warehouses and arranged in rooms before we all could sleep. They have a smell to them but they’re not inhospitable: if you need a hand with the ghastly thing you’ve been assigned to do, you will find help for a small commission or a favor in return. That’s all behind me now. I’m waiting to receive my coordinates, then I will disappear. I’ve always known this day would come. Meanwhile, I’ve discomputered. I am personally digitally unassisted. I am analog. I am meat. Soon I’ll have claws and fangs and extra molars. I’ll find out what the wisdom teeth are for. Will the others welcome me? I don’t care. I’ll develop an indispensable skill or learn to live alone. We’ll be part of something elemental, brute and beautiful and never look back. We’ll be a clan. We’ll share unfamiliar clan girls. This city needs a quarantine. Is there a better place to test infection rates than this neon urban square? Even now the closeness of these millions creeps beneath my skin. If I could read the protocol I’d already be on my way to shaking this virus. Something in those clocks of the world is irresistibly attractive but I’m also being seduced by the stock ticker. Which of these billboards is meant for me? No, there it is: a subway stop with my initial and the date of my birth. Tell the others I’ll be there by daybreak.

Copyright © January 29, 2008 David Hodges

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