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Stine

“What have you got?” his lawyer is saying.

Stine figures that there should be violins playing now, short strokes, heightening the tension. Everything should be slowing down.

“That’s not acceptable,” she says.

They’re not. Instead of a dramatic climax, the closest analog to this he knows is giving blood.

“Man two,” she snaps. “Five years, serves three–”

There was a sharp pain, then the surprising lack of it; a lightness; a sense of sharp contrasts and distance, of things happening quickly.

His lawyer is looking at him, nodding, and Stine has the gradual and worrisome feeling that he’s being deflated.

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