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A Few Short Words

Dense Not Thick

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Epoch

Seconds

Lost as usual, or found again, in lionised eyes. Time passes. Thirteen point eight billion years theorised, over a dozen epochs subdivided across eras then in turn divided by ages. Pupils dilate. Four hundred milliseconds to blink. Barely the length of a Planck between us when one arcsecond ticks a parsec. Lips part. Seventeen muscles to smile, they say, and seventy two beats for one to pump blood, unless it’s in love. Vows are exchanged. Nine billion, one hundred ninety-two million, six hundred thirty-one thousand, seven hundred seventy transitions cross a caesium atom. An eternity is spent.

Diagnosis

I take the medication less than I think about it now, which is good and doctor Charlotte agrees. Of course her real name is something perfectly benign, but she wears a lot of turtlenecks and masticates relentlessly and none of it does much to make her look less like a brontosaurus. I tell doctor Charlotte this and she shakes her head slowly as though it takes my words an epoch to reach her ears and have since turned to tar. ‘These hallucinations,’ she says, ‘have they been going on long?’ I can only imagine it’s been a lifelong condition.

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