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Oliver Benjamin                            
found that she could not. Yak would not follow and she could not
release him.
“Please come inside,” she said meekly, but he just shook his head.
Her lower lip quivered as she cried, “Why do you reject me? Am I so
“You don’t know me.”
“You don’t know me either,” she answered, “You just think I’m a
slut. But it’s love that I try to give. I try to help. Is that so bad?”
“Love,” Yak said, then, out of habit: “What an enormous word.”
He pulled away and turned to leave.
“It islove. I know that it is,” she pleaded, “Please come back.”
But he wouldn’t. It took all his will just to keep walking down the
stairs, to appear unaffected. She stood in the hallway and watched
him leave.
He passed through the lobby filled with unwelcome partygoers
bent low under the limbo stick. Soon to be subtracted from a halfway
house, the mathematics of their exile now proved too complex to
Yak returned to his room at Roy’s and laid down on his sensible
bed. Each solvent exhale washed away the endometria of an
unfertilized life, returning him to a smooth and barren landscape of
uncarved shale. Nothing lush or lovely could grow there, but neither
could flowers of evil. He had to be uncompromising in defending his
territory against thorny blossoms. Seeds could not be allowed to take.
Confident now but weary, he relaxed into a thin variety of sleep,
diaphanous and undreaming as he was when awake.
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