I tell Wicks I’m not real and he pokes me with the end of his pencil the way a child might molest a dead thing. He smiles, satisfied, and pokes me again. I can see the lines of vintage dentistry running across his two front teeth, the consequence of some past violence. I try to imagine installing their absence myself. Wicks watches me thinking and asks me to elaborate. There’s a mortar and pestle feeling to our conversations that leave me feeling purposelessly milled, when I tell him this he shakes his head and asks me what I need.

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