Room 8-100

The fat man with his chubby, expressionless face, his black hair combed abckward to resemble the slick style of the sixties, loudly ticked with his swollen fingers on the photocopy poster on the wall with instructions on passport picture requirements.

“Pictures,” he articulated with a bureaucratic disdain for the uninitiated civilian in a soft, high-pitched voice. He leafed through an unordered set of papers, which the client had just placed on the desk and extracted from it a single leaf, pushing the remaining rest, wordless and with a glance of rejection back over the desk’s surface, irritated having had to touch it with his tired fingers. Without a single word exchanged, both men on reciprocal sides of the desk played their roles and followed the unwritten script of the procedure calmlly and quietly, one fearfully submitted to the other’s paper power, entangled in an embrace of mutual disgust. No words, no expressions showing, no emotions on the surface, but below, simply disgust.

“Next!” the fat man shouted, diligently avoiding all eye contact with the man opposite of him. He stepped aside and placed the exactly correct number of forms with attachments clipped together in a desk tray to the left of him. Stepping back again, his eyes stared across the room over the shoulder of the man. whose head faced the floor below.

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