I was instructed today
to hand a certain piece
of paperwork, a non-disclosure
agreement, to a certain man.
I entered the room before the
man did and set the paper on
a table and walked around the
room in a state of mild stupefaction.
It was bright.
A baleful & stupid light
ate into my day, vibrated my
eyes, shook awake my hangover
from compulsive Christmas parties,
seven in the past week. One wall was
brick painted slate blue, and of the items
I regarded in the room, the strangest was
a wooden spatula, six inches long.
I tasted citrus and sweat at the back of
my throat. The man entered the room,
finally, mercifully, just as I was beginning
to consider the process of death, and he said,
What the fuck? Where the fuck is it? And I said,
Where is it? And he said, The paper. Where the fuck
is the paper?
I pointed to the table.
The man said, I told you to hand it to me.
I said, It’s not too late.
He said, Don’t be a smartass.
I said, Fine.
He said, Do you know what tables are for?
No one had ever asked me this question.
No one had ever thought to utter these words
in this order, and what a shame. The question
was so beautiful. So simple & elegant. So compulsively
obvious that it crushed my faculties of reason. There
was no answer. All answers were inaccurate.
The man said, finally, while staring at my
stunned face, Tables are not for setting this
fucking paper down on, especially when I told
you to hand it to me. Do you understand?
I nodded. But I didn’t understand. I’m
still thinking about it.
What are tables for?
Written at 11:19 at night, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA.