The Other no Other

Nervous, he wound around the corner and observed the thick mass of homotheria bustling around him. He had no need to concern himself in the way that these others did, and so his stay downtown made pleasant feeling. All of these persons carried themselves in a similar manner, each being distinctive. A bald man in a derby carried a seemingly permanent smile near his jaw. He swayed as he walked. Xenis listened beside him as the man talked on his cell-phone, explaining to the world everything in mind. He had some means by the way he talked. “Myra, it isn't as dire as you believe,” he said. “Give it to John. He'll have it done for you before the convocation. Really, what would you do if a real problem arose?” After a moment's listening the man laughed. “Then don't let him,” he said. Xenis kept up with him and entered the lobby of a large, sand-colored building where the man sat at a booth, ordered brunch and a drink. Three other men met him and each of them carried themselves similarly to the bald man who refused to remove his rust-orange derby. Xenis finished his soda and lemon. The rush outside had not yet merged with the Not of clear streets, so an anxiousness gripped him. He walked again along Michigan avenue, listening to a smaller man of almost the same height, again talking on his phone so that his fellow pedestrians might listen. His hair fine and becoming finer, he wore a thin, dark blue tie and his jeans complemented a button-down blue and light shirt. Tennis shoes made his walk easy and comfortable, but seemed to displace the higher quality shirt. “Tear it down,” he said. “We can't afford to take any risks right now. Put it back up later.” Many of the things that this man did were similar to the last, yet he possessed a definitive character, one made crisp and clear to those observing. He ended where he began to give off a specific way of being, and Xenis stopped walking suddenly, a woman behind him nearly smacking into him. He was convinced. They were at work, making one thing not another, making the what of one thing not that of another. They did not merely keep otherness away. “No.” The Nichts were responsible for the what, the what-kind, of the things around him. If, as Xenis suspected, they were so much a part of any thing he encountered, they were character of character and ability of quality to be kind. They found their role in and among others as what they are. Xenis watched other characters among the crowd, but became nervous once more. He sensed no Nichts near him as he did in his room, and the desire to return spread about his mind, like flame on paper. Suddenly, he quick-walked back to the hotel and when he opened the door he was relieved. Nothing greeted him.