That laugh is a dead laugh. The laugher, a dead man. His eyes light at perceived failures. He delights in (others’, for his are always understood) breaches of proprietary. His laugh is a laugh laughed from a long ago place. Once, when he was young, he held in his laugh. He took in other’s laughs, which killed his own. They hollowed into his little heart, his cold now, growing then. They hollowed in a tight coffin-box, where his own laugh died, barely sprouted, where the new laughs grew like grey-black fungus.

He grew up. His laughs were– with time, he realised that he too, could laugh. He opened his mouth and the new laughs, not his, came out. He thought, ‘this is how I have taken laughter, now I am big, I am a stronger man than I thought, I can give’. He gave his laugh, a grown man. He gave his laugh, a grown man who didn’t understand, a child living in a sub-basement, room 23D, believing that’s all that was, making lists and labels with his new, dead, laugh. His child-cruel, dead laugh. His cold laugh which showed he was not really a man. His hard, not-laugh, which he would laugh at (if he knew), which he laughed at me.

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