The cashier gets to sit in a little chair and think about nothing while he pushes my items over the scanner like a cyborg metronome. Toilet paper, soap, coffee. Rough night, I tell him. Something sparks inside the black part of his eye, a dying star at the back end of a telescope, dead before it’s seen. ‘Twenty four sixty,’ his stripped out voice with all inflections sanded off. I hold up my card and smile awkwardly into his abyssal face. There’s no echo. He says, ‘do you need cash?’ and I say, thanks, but I should have enough.

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