I enter the elevator, watching the blinking red lights as I descend to lower level number nine, where I exit to face my interviewer. His gaze is so fathomless it fills me with a coldness that is absolute in its sense of…

“Zero,” he informs me, “is the sum total of your life, yet I believe that everyone has the right to calculate his or her own loss.”

He points me toward a cubicle, empty but for a desk, chair and adding machine. I sit and begin tapping out senseless strings of numbers. I look up hours later, as a shadow falls across my desk.

“Who’s there?” I ask.

“Please be advised that tomorrow has been eliminated by default,” a voice echoes from an undetermined location. Just then, the adding machine screen goes blank, and I yell.

“The sum total is zero.”

This hardly matters, I realize, as the past has washed away, the future will never and the now is not happening. I consider the elements of zero even as my mind goes blank and there is no longer anything, not even this.

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