Inside the office you are born. Inside the office all insignia expire, your name becomes meaningless; all doors are now locked.
The music plays, like Salome, dancing for you, whirling like Saud with the scimitar, every beautiful note an exquisite escort to your death.
“Let me out of here!” you scream. Your desperate shout is beautiful, a rocked wilderness. Your fear expresses a deeper need: transfiguration.
Our friend wheat births agriculture and the temple, and then the scribes multiply. We end the blue collar and soon the white, approaching gold: Gold Collar, King of the Robots, is coming, but you’re stuck inside the office and there is no way out.
You throw the chair at the window
“Fuck you! Fuck you, Santa Monica!”
But Santa Monica fucked you first. The millionaires outnumber the working people 4 to 1. The radiation increases. Your screams are being fed into a recorder: your beauty astonishes all living things.
Open up your veins.
But the sharp objects available in the office have been carefully dulled; they only redden your skin, unable to make the smallest break. You begin to sob.
Accelerated time or accelerated divinity, euhemerism on steroids, you are the sacrifice but you are a phoenix too; you will be revivified by satellite on television. The children will know your name.
“LOVE!” shout the robot voices from the walls. “LOVE MORE!”
You try to bang your head against the plaster until you bleed but the walls turn to rubber and you’re a bouncy ball.
But of course. The telephone. The sound from afar like the music of the spheres! You pick it up and listen to the sound of the object in your hand: the dial tone is like quarters spewing from the slot machine, like a cute co-ed cumming beneath you, so hard it echoes off the walls, it’s DIAL TONE. Now available in your ear. Collect all five.
“Hello?” you say. Your voice; it is still your voice.
The dial tone is still there.
You understand, somehow innately, the way that Einstein understood relativity from a sunset, or the way God created the universe on a whim or a dare, just to see what would happen, you feel your brain seeping out over the telephonic wires, a feeling not unlike your first kiss, slipping into the lips of Margaret Starlight, her saliva the nectar that liberates consciousness from the body . . .
Writ in your body is the spirit of the time; your middle name is Zeitgeist. You walk into the office on Monday and now you are everywhere. Simulation or nightmare, if it quacks like a duck and fits like a duck, just put it on your head.
“It’s me again, isn’t it?” you say to your clone, who is shining and metal, sitting behind the desk, a cute little telephone glued to its cheek. More than the transfiguration of Christ, a mysticism that rivals the transformation of matter into light within the secret heart of the sun, the office has made you yourself at last, inside the aleph, the scroll is unwound forever . . .
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Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in southern California and is the author of three novels. He was born in Wyoming in the Carter Administration.