by Stanley Lieber

Head out of the sand. High enough to get a signal.

Gray Gloves, en route.

Get her started. Open her up before they arrive.

Wait one.

“We need to move her out of here.”


Absence of internal conflict. Working alone was easy.


Black gloves. Technically adept but too involved. Expose yourself to their entanglements. White gloves. Slaves to bureaucracy. On the other hand, nobody ever got fired for turning in the right forms.

Gray Gloves. Quiet professionals. On the list of approved vendors. Best of both worlds.

Well, that was what their brochure had said.

The Gray Gloves rep emerged from the sand, leaf in hand. Dusted off his sleeves and trousers.

“Before we get started,” he began, “I’m required to inform you that our corporate branding is provided by MEGAWATT SIMILE, INC. The artist was Amy.”

“Authorship is censorship,” I agreed, nodding. “When does your crew arrive?”

“There’ll never be enough of us,” he opined, looking around. “It’s just me. The tyranny of adequacy.”

I knew the feeling.

“Anyway. Let’s dig her out,” I observed.


Immediately, we got to work.