Deposit Slip

There's an engraved sign screwed to the heavy wooden door that seems more official than is justified. White letters stand out against a maroon rectangle that vaguely suggests some clinical version of warmth. Regardless, Rich enters the Production Room as if he owns the place. For a few minutes he does, and will be rightly compensated. It's not his best work, but that ended years ago. A masterpiece is only a craftsman's last achievement in the forgiving world of fairytales that dies with income tax and puberty.

Eschewing raw material left for his endeavor, he thinks of things outside of what's expected while coaxing his contribution:  virginal nicknames unused by prior suitors; the only person he knows who folds a fitted sheet with ease; a case of wine that soured when it froze in the back of his car overnight. "I'm doing this for us," he tells a beaker, unsure of whether walls have been soundproofed--or if some nameless nurse is giggling or frowning or both. The corkscrew motion settles the matter as it has since some ancient fellatrix informed him of its merit. It seems a shame to leave so many possibilities behind. Fate is out of his tired hands, parallel universes be as damned as the torpedoes.

After the crescendo and sterilized cleansing, he stops at a reception window to collect his check. The woman filling it out reminds him of a dream he once had. Rich wonders if it'd be like putting his tongue on battery terminals. He shakes his head free of the intangible world of maybes and reaches for his payment. Fifty dollars richer, he walks through the double-doors and ponders where to apply this temporary bandage--a typical modern American with just enough credit card debt to remind him of his follies.

He kicks his heel inadvertently while stepping off the curb, smirking since none of it matters more than what's waiting. At the end of the game, the pawn and the king enter the same box. He heads home, where he'll shower, eat dinner, and be taken by the woman who knows what scares him most. There's little more to ask for than a love as strong as sickness.

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