Numbers by Guy Yasko

— I cannot pass this on. You understand why — or don’t you? I don’t
know sometimes. I can’t spell it out for you. You know that.
Nevertheless, I still need you to understand. And if you can’t or
won’t, we’re going to have to find someone who can.

— I understand.

— I’m not convinced that you do. Let me put it this way: We survive
here so long as you and I keep our superiors happy. You know what
makes them happy. Go do it.

— Numbers are numbers. Rules are rules.

— Then make them someone else’s problem! Regulations need to be
followed — maybe — but it doesn’t need to be us who follows them.

The numbers slide from their cells, leaving hollows and balances. A
fiction renders them homeless: they leave for cells in other
spreadsheets. Instead, the wind deposits them as an invisible film over
everything outside the books.

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6 responses to “Numbers by Guy Yasko

  1. I like this a lot a lot. But I stumble across the word “instead” in the last sentence. It sets up the opposition between the numbers in other spread sheets & the the numbers being deposited — and that seems contradictory. I imagine you’re trying to get at the distinction between the numbers and the bodies they represent. I would try this: ” … they leave for cells in other spreadsheets while the wind deposits an invisible film over everything outside the books.” Anyway, that’s my two-cents worth. I love the story.

  2. guy

    The Reverend Doctor Reggie, my idea was to make a distinction between the assumption that numbers would go into other slots and what really happened to them. That didn’t get through, so there is obviously a problem. In the beginning, this was only the conversation. It seemed somehow lacking, so i stuck the last bit in the midst of Sunday’s crises.

    Good to have feedback on what works and what does not. Danke.

    • Yes, Guy. But the numbers *do* go to other spread sheets as well — different kinds of spread sheets, no? They do so even as the wind deposits the film. I guess when I read it, I have this sustained image in mind of a world of numbers and a world of bodies, distinct but related. It’s not so much that there are the numbers and then what “really happened,” but a on-going distinction between the statistics with which bureaucrats quantify & arrange bodies and the bodies themselves — both equally real. Anyway, I think it’s great.

      • guy

        Reverend Doctor, i think we’re thinking along similar lines, most probably because this grew out of a conversation we were having with shk & others about the bp blowout in the gulf. I think my idea may have been a little different from yours in that i was thinking that a lot of costs are not monetarised or are demonetarised. You are correct that they are costs all the same.

  3. Pingback: Week #17 – Busy at work « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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