1. After several hours inside the machine, you become inert.
  2. The gatekeeper, whom you understand to be only the first and least powerful of many, often condescends to interrogate you, asking indifferent questions about your homeland and so on, then always tells you that you must wait.
  3. No one will explain the charge to you, but you are sure it is unjust.
  4. In this cold, timeless world to which you have been sent in error, the local inhabitants seem eager to be rid of you, officials contradict each other, and you are sure paperwork is being destroyed by servants.
  5. These perversions of the truth, despite their predictability, enervate you, and so daunted are you by the vastness of the world’s non-understanding that your emaciated body sinks, with a desperate groan, onto the straw. But why stop now, after holding out for so long?
  6. Your limbs flail helplessly and your voice has taken on a shockingly unrecognizable quality, each word intermingled with wretched, involuntary squeaking and followed by some kind of distorting reverberation, as if channeled through a cavernous proboscis.
  7. You waver between condemnation and pity for your identical assistants, who may be your adversaries.
  8. The mystical experience that you were hoping to find lurking at the outer reaches of unendurable pain is prevented by a mechanical dysfunction.
  9. After the conversation reveals the loss of your idealism and the extent of your alienation, you may walk straight to the nearest bridge.
  10. Now the person who is straining to tell you something important and nearly indecipherable, something you’ve long been waiting for, perhaps even the purpose of all this, is cut off mid-sentence. That is the end.
  11. You must start over. With another trapeze.

1-11: Either in a Kafka story or talking with a customer service representative. You will never know, nor will you ever know why you cannot know.


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