Morning Scene

Three steps lead from the street to the entrance of the office building. A large glass door is fitted with brass frames, as are the glass panes them- selves, left and right. This morning, U. is sitting on the floor leaning against one of the brass frames instead of following his coworkers, who don’t seem to notice him, to the elevator to head up to work. His boss comes down after half an hour. He opens U.’s suit jacket and shirt, and with his bare hand—not that he’s any stronger than other bosses—removes a piece of U.’s lung. U. protests, more out of anger than pain. The company has a right to his presence in the office for eight hours, but not to his body, he contends. But as his boss says, these things can’t be so easily distinguished. And U. needs to realize that his body isn’t exactly going be fresh as the dew after having worked in the office for ten years. U. responds that while he intends to keep himself physically fit, a missing piece of lung won’t make it any easier. U. is proud of his ability to remain so calm, and that this time he didn’t let his boss get the better of him. Nonetheless, he feels weaker as time passes.

Rupprecht Mayer lives in Burghausen (Germany), translates Chinese literature, and writes short prose. Many of his stories have been published in German-language literary journals. Translations have appeared in Ninth Letter, Washington Square, NAP, Mikrokosmos, and Postcard Shorts. Please visit