She sits on the couch, talking to a captive audience, ranting about her unsatisfactory divorce. She talks about her plans to unseat the judge and claims she can do it because she has “thirty years of marketing experience.”

  • “He knows that I know because I told him that I know.”
  • “I go on national social media pages, and say what I have to say.”
  • “This is your Masonic justice bullshit.”
  • “So I launched into a five-minute temper tantrum.”
  • “They put me in the psych ward.”
  • “I’m not going to have a male middle eastern doctor treat me.”
  • “You know what the connection is? It’s the Catholic hospital. It’s not a conspiracy theory. They don’t hide it.”
  • “It all comes down to Saturn worship.”


Confusion and clutter

In soiled jeans and rat-colored hoody, carrying a Warcraft paperback, he announced his entrance with a too-loud “Hello” and plopped into the leather club chair.

Randomly paging through his book, jotting in its margins, he muttered, returning the eye of all who glanced his direction. Machine oil funk infused the espresso.

“Can I show you this?” He offered a fragment of heavy, asphalt-embossed paper with NUMBERS carefully hand-lettered below a heading saying the same thing. “People working there wear yellow hats, like gangsters. See this? The 82? That’s the year I was born.” A troubled humph suggested this coincidence carried an unstated significance.

In time, an uneasy bargain was struck: his mumbles quieted and the others were more guarded with their glances.

Then, sitting forward, he retrieved coupons, receipts, and cards from a clear, resealable bag. He checked one and flicked it onto the ottoman. Then another. This one tossed on the floor. One paper after another he rejected, but not all of them.

He dropped the now partially-depleted bag, stood up, and shifted to a wooden chair at the square table with the wheelchair symbol. Removing the lid from his coffee cup, he set it aside, upside down on the chair beside.

And then he left, walking out the door, leaving the half-empty cup, the upside-down lid, the scattered papers and the baggie. Having shared his confusion, he abandoned his clutter.