[Fiction] Excerpt from Woke Up Lonely: Boredom, loneliness and a loss of innocence at a remote listening station in the middle of nowhere:

We got to the cave, the door was unlocked, and inside were a few cryptanalysts I’d seen around, but never talked to. They were gathered at a work station-turned-bar, and playing cards. The three were ecstatic to see us. Hey, Teddy, and, you, what’s your name again? I said I had some reviewing to do and not to mind me at all. Suit yourself, they said. Teddy was dealt in and I retreated to a corner. I sat with my back to the room, put on my headphones, and cued up. Okay, now pay attention. I listened once just to get back into the zone, twice to access my guy’s headspace, and a third to parse content from emotion. By the sixth, I had completely tuned out his whimpers and clamor of self-disgust, but I still could not make sense of the rest. I pressed my headphones into my ears and went: Listen.

Meantime, the others were kissing. I’ll just get right to it, they were kissing. Not that the card game had escalated into strip poker, not that there’d been any pretense to make these amorous gestures compulsory—as per spin the bottle—just that the four had tired of one pursuit and moved on to another.

“Interpreters of Men Get It On.” — Fiona Maazel, Electric Literature

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