Betrayed by Mathews’s Algorithm

1.

The car creeped slowly down the street with its hazard lights on. Inside there were three people doing their laundry: they looked rough, like they’d been there all night, and they gazed at me suspiciously. A dark car: sometimes the interior lights are on, sometimes they are not. A man came in and said that it was so quiet outside he wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead.

2.

Sometimes I will spend the entire day inside and only leave my apartment well after the onset of night. The two women running the bar didn’t know what to do—we stayed inside but not away from the windows. At night things become softer, like a whisper, like being wrapped in a cool blanket. He told us that the shooting had taken place across the street, and that the shooter had fled on foot.

3.

In the morning I went to the coin laundry to exchange my ten dollar bill. It parks in the same spot every night, idling right in the middle of the street, forcing traffic to maneuver into the opposite lane—even if there’s a space for it somewhere against the curb. Afterwards I sat in the coffee shop and waited for my breakfast—the coffee shop was completely empty. Sometimes the car has its engine running and I can hear it from my apartment, and sometimes it sits there in complete silence, as quiet as a ghost.

4.

We heard the gunshots from inside the bar. I found my head swimming as I entered the world dazzled by that dim clarity. Soon a police officer arrived. I feel impatient, when I’m walking outside—impatient to fit the whole world inside my head.

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