The Third Sleeve
in every square is a reenactment
When he put on his jacket, arms regular like, through the normal sleeves, the original sleeves, Arthur noticed there was a third sleeve, which clearly wasn't there before. Or at least he didn't think so. Arthur had nowhere in particular to go, and upon realizing this and that he was inside of a rather warm all glass room, he took his jacket off and sat back down in the chair with which he was acquainted. Arthur looked around the room and found no one. He removed his hat, shifted in the chair, and scratched his head. He put his hat back on, carefully, over his twisted hair. He looked around the room and found no one.
"It's a long life," he said to no one.
Arthur looked at his feet and felt the holes on the sides of his shoes. He looked outside. No rain. Not wet. He took the plastic bag out of his right shoe and put it over his face. He pulled it tight and made the plastic wrap inside his mouth by trying to draw air. He put the bag back inside the shoe, making sure to cover the part that gets wet sometimes. The part that makes his sock wet sometimes.
"Matthew is good at math. Arthur is good at art."
Arthur stood up to check the change in his pocket. Twenty cents. "That and fifty cents will buy you a cup of coffee," he said in his father's voice.
The weather was cold, although not cold enough to snow yet. Not that it ever really snowed in that city. Arthur remembered the snow from another city. And while Arthur was remembering things, he remembered reading a Berman poem in which the protagonist remarks how the outdoors seem like a room when it's snowing. Arthur couldn't be sure, but the cold is more bearable when it snows. He knew that. He took a small brown notepad out of his pocket, and a pen, and wrote something down. Arthur was always writing things down. An image. A description. A phrase someone said. A thought.
He walked and as he walked, he sometimes talked. No one ever said anything back to Arthur. He walked with his head down to avoid getting his shoes wet. Those parts of his shoes that get his socks wet. The people in the city looked strangely at his jacket. He didn't see the people anywhere, but the people were everywhere. Every once in a while Arthur would take out the notepad to write something down, and when he looked up, the people were hidden behind telephone poles, or under cars. Arthur continued to walk and talk, and write things down in his notebook. All of this went on for a very long time.
Eventually it started to snow. The people were cold, but not Arthur. He thought about putting one of his arms into the third sleeve of his jacket, but didn't.
Nothing else happened for a very long time.
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