The room is dark and the steel of the cold chair bites into his skin; his breath is ice, his heart is melting as it freezes; he is dying as he lives. Over in the corner the thermostat is taped down and too high up to reach. They are pacing around him. Three thin walls do not offer much protection. There is a steady tapping sound that grows louder as time passes - sharp clicks, low thuds, nails clacking on a chalkboard, human teeth gnawing on wood. He shakes his head to clear his mind and his whole body shakes with him. He is trembling violently. His thoughts are an overwhelming stream of nonsense. Lyrics from 80s rock songs and the last thing his mother told him do not form a helpful or cohesive thought. He knows that the capital of Ecuador is Quito, but he does not know how to leave. Dig deep, he thinks to himself, dig deeper, deeper - his body but not his mind cooperates and his teeth sink into his tongue, his fingernails into the flesh of his thighs. When is the last time he ate? Slept? Had water? His throat is fire and his head spins while everything else is ice and snow and the drone of tapping never ends and the pacers never rest and the shivers never stop and one name will not leave his head - chest heaving, jaws clenched, he manages to turn and face the approaching footsteps making their agonizingly slow rounds. There is an unintelligible and vaguely barbaric sound; he does not know who it comes from. Everything comes to a screeching halt, leaving his ears ringing in the foreign silence, as he finally chokes out the words: “I quit.”
The office will need someone else to answer their 32nd telephone.