Inter alia

Before there were five boroughs, there were seven. Alas, we lack the space here to tell the story of how the seventh borough was lost on a particularly foggy day. But we have just space enough now to recount what happened to the sixth…

It began at breakfast, when a group of three was halfway through their eggs michel. One of them, a still-single man in his forties, put down his fork when he realized what had happened. None of them had made anything but perfunctory comments about the meal, the weather, and the time for the entirety of the meal. In fact, he couldn’t remember a single substantive topic of discussion since they first said hello to one another. He looked around the dining room. Many others were like him: chewing their food, looking slowly off into the distance, and waiting for someone to break the silence.

“Waiter,” he said, summoning the waiter, a tall woman with long curly hair and bangs. “Waiter, I think there’s something wrong with all of us. We’ve all run out of things to talk about.”

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