His name was Dave or Trevor or Brandon or something. Normal haircut, stupid job, no dreams, politics. There was nothing to make him stand out. he sat there like all the others, head on top, legs crossed. Sitting at his desk. Always going with the flow, never making, say, a LEFT turn, a RIGHT turn, no. Eyes forward, straight ahead, head bowed in service, plodding through the slag of seventy thousand melted bodies of the ones who’d gone before. They must have known it was right! Always marching onward into the furnace. Even if your nose begins to melt, or if it melts entirely off. This will be your mark of bravery. The assignment that day was to write about “lacks individuality.” It was a real kick sometimes, the humor life had. Dave or Steve or Bill would probably end up writing the same thing as everyone else. He had always wanted to fit in but how he really wanted to stand out. He raised his hand. “May I go to the restroom?” But they wouldn’t allow him. He had to start writing that paper. He wanted to write something individualistic about lacking individuality, something completely individualized that could never be mistaken for anything else. But it had to be about the lack of individuality. He frowned and tried hard. Seventy thousand have passed this way before, he reminded himself, this is getting to be a tradition. It’s honorable and right! How dare I question this road? He challenged himself. Just go with the flow. As above, so below, he reassured himself. As within, so without. Even the tiny torn out guts of dead insects should do nothing to dissuade my doggedness here. “I have blank eyes,” he wrote. He thought this was a very good idea; other people had blue eyes, etc. but his were blank because he lacked indi- But no, that was the exact opposite of “lacks individuality.” This assignment was a Mobius strip! Tom/Joe/Bob crossed out that sentence. It was almost his time. He frowned at the paper again. “Once upon a time,” he wrote. Every fool always wrote that. He crossed it out. He couldn’t think of anything. Just kept sitting there. Even the way he sat there was nothing special. This assignment was so hard! Soon he would crumple it up and throw it into the fires of hell. He couldn’t wait to eat his lunch.
The Flip Through