It became clear I was among many men. The face of one partly like the face of another, and so on. Clearer still was our simple labor, on the bridge. The men, this bridge, and the parts that go together. One of us remarked how remarkable it was to work on the structure of things. These things, he said, as if the things were fast asleep within their forms. He leaned into an idea of himself, and made the impression of a guardian, and the work followed softly all through the day, and all through the night. His eyes were a meaty substance, white with it and their finish.
In the distance was a sentiment. It approached the bridge in the form of an extra man. This man was widely regarded as the man who came up short. He was extraordinarily faint. One could barely look at him until finally he spoke up. He said wild things, the meanings of which we were too busy to mention. He came nearer, this extra.
The town was not far behind him. It walked in his shadow. In this case as in others the shadow was a governing body. As a result, the town made small movements, and could not keep pace. So the town lost the man. Besides, it was a known thing that the man’s shadow would soon overtake him, or shrink, or do both in like manner. Thus, in the end, the man appeared to us all alone. His concerns were not without force. The bridge, he said, will be left to its own devices. What then?
An answer came from the least of us. It was ignored, but not without a brief struggle, a shriek, and then a wounding. We carried the wounded down below the bridge, each of us holding a small piece of him. It must be said his weight was a laughable thing in all of us. But it was back to the work at hand and the occasional man humming to the sound of a single alarm.
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