49. 499 psi

I thought this would make you feel better, this turning back of the vice a scant millimeter so that 499 psi of pressure to your temples would be made to feel good, soothing even, after all of those hours at 500. Perception bows in service to context, you know.

So I wasn’t prepared for you to lash out at me like you did. I understand, of course, that you weren’t genuinely angry at me. You were really lashing out at those other people that put you in your current place — they were the ones who wheeled your cart into position and then slowly, almost gently, twisted the mechanism. I knew that you were addressing them and not me. But to have you talk to me like that, it still hurt a little bit, like a grain of sand in the eye, quickly swept away by automatic plumbing.

I just backed off, explaining that I was only trying to be helpful. When your only reply was to snarl, I washed my hands and walked away, leaving you in your shackles. Ungrateful fucker.

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