Eyes wide, he smiles at the trashcan. He is practicing for human interaction. Lips taut, smiling, he nods to the basket. “Hello,” he thinks. No. “Hello,” he says. His dry voice scratches at his throat, tiny tumbleweed of sound. He pictures rivers. Exactly three of them, one from each eye and one from his nose (it’s a two nostril affair). They run down his upper lip and worm their way onto his tongue. They are not salty or slimy or gross. They are fresh mountain springs. They are the fountain of youth.

He licks his lips and nods to the trashcan again. “Hello,” he thinks. No. No. “Hello,” he says. Only we know this going on. It’s up to us to pity the trashcan and–what’s more–the man.

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