Article: 288586 of talk.bizarre
From: (Ryan J Franklin)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: too careful
Date: 1 Dec 1996 11:00:08 GMT
Organization: University of Arizona, Unix Users Group
Lines: 57
Message-ID: <57rofo$>
Summary: happy FTS day
Keywords: happiness kills muse; tape at eleven

I wake to a quiet crunching sound somewhere behind me.  In the 
candlelight, I can see him hunched over his mortar, grinding something.  
Probably glass again, from the sound.  I watch for a while, thinking.

He's so meticulous, so careful.  A little half-twist of the pestle as he 
presses down, a little tension between his shoulderblades as he uses his 
weight to crush it into the finest powder possible.  I've watched him do 
this a hundred times since we barred the door, and I've never dared to 
interrupt him.  He scares me when he's like this, all concentration and 
deliberate movement, so unlike the twitching wreck I've become.

I've never even figured out where he gets his materials.  Glass?  Down 
here?  And a few months ago, it was some frayed copper wiring.  And 
before that, something black and oily that I couldn't even identify.  I 
know he can't get out, any more than I can, but somehow, somehow, he's 
finding this stuff, and grinding away at it.  

But I think he's done now.  Yes, he's gently scraping the glass into what 
looks like an old tomato soup can.  (Tomato?  That's a new one.)  
Powdered so fine you can see traces of it rising like steam from the open 
mouth of the can, little tendrils in the candlelight.  I wonder--is it 
bad to breathe when it's like that?  Like asbestos?  Will I start 
coughing up blood now, since I'm sealed in here with that, with him?

And he sets the can gently on the shelf next to his others.  Cans, 
bottles, boxes, all filled with powdered remains.  The mortar and pestle 
go back under his pillow.  And like before, when his work is done, he 
slumps and stares listlessly at the candle. 

I gather my courage.  It takes a while.  "Hey," I whisper at last, 
managing not to look away even when his faded, blurred eyes meet mine.  I 
think suddenly that he doesn't even know that he's doing it, let alone 
why, and I shouldn't even ask.  It takes me a few moments to force the 
words out.  "Hey...why do you do that?"

He blinks at me for a few moments, not like he's thinking, more like he's 
got something in his eye.  (Glass?  No, he's too careful for that.)  And 
then he shrugs.  

I squeeze my hands together too tightly and try not to bite my lip.  "Is it because it's dangerous?  Because it can't be left out there?"  
I don't know why I say that.  I cower and wait for a response.

He blinks again, and his stare drifts until he's looking at the door.  
Securely barred, as always.

And then I notice that the door doesn't fit as tightly as I thought it once 
did.  There's a very narrow gap at the bottom.  Not big enough to use to 
get in or out, unless...


And he smiles, too coldly and too tightly.

developing a good technique requires lots of practice