Fiction | March 01, 1989

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For six months, Richard had his own office, windowless and spare. Then management hired a new programmer. Richard had hoped for a quiet man with a need for privacy that matched his own. But the new programmer seemed never to be quiet. His sneakers, gray with age and too large, squeaked when he walked and tapped the floor when he was at his desk. Seated, he muttered to himself, his long fingers strumming the plastic markers that stuck out of his open file drawer. He talked to his computer screen in a low, urgent voice, as if egging on a favorite horse. The walls of Richard’s office became pimpled with notes the programmer wrote to himself on yellow tabs he stuck to the wall, where they accumulated, their edges fluttering under the ceiling ventilator like a new kind of weather.

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