James lay on his back, writhing, and wondered if life was hell. He had eaten part of a page of a Kafka novel and thought it might mean something. It did not. Expelling his supply of futility in parallel with his desperation, James writhed some more and snagged a mesothoracic leg on a linoleum knot, leaving it detached and autonomously alarmed at his side. He couldn’t feel its absence and was shocked at the hole that made. Midst thorax contractions came fatuous lucidity. I should have eaten Joyce, James thought, it might have changed something. It would not have.

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