atlas collection

"Let me have a look at your car." What does this man want to see my car for.
"I don't have a car."
"How about your office, would that be all right?"
My office? I don't have an office. There is a desk in my bedroom.
"I don't have an office"
"Where do you work then?"
"Well there's a desk in my bedroom."
"Okay, we can start with that."
"I'd rather, oh! It's a bit messy with paper and things all over. And the walls, I haven't hung everything yet. You're going up the stairs. I don't really want you to, oh shit."
The man mounts the stairs to the attic bedroom, rounds the corner at the top and stops. Atlases. They are wedged around the room, against the wall behind the furniture and amongst other atlases, the ceiling and the floor. The earth pressed flat and repeated into an over-literal meditation on parallel worlds."Planning a trip?"
James catches up, too out of breath for the number of stairs he just climbed. "No, just atlases."
"But why so many?"
James manoeuvres into the room, past the man, until he stands between him and the books. With the worlds at his back he stands tensed and ready and forgets to breathe until his face glows red. "No reason. There was a sale at the Salvation Army. You don't need a reason to buy atlases."
"And if you had to move, would you get rid of some?"
James looks behind him and considers the atlases, his desk and unmade bed, just a mattress on a boxspring on the floor, and the pieces of paper on everything. He turns to answer, but the man is gone. On the wall near where he was standing James notices a photograph of a cow he took while in France. He couldn't remember hanging it.

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