I know where everyone is. Ben is in the kitchen. He just dropped a chip on my floor and picked it up because no one was watching. Blowing on it does not rid it of the microbes it acquired there, you twit.

Mangy Kit runs to the sound of fallen food, scattering hair and droplets of saliva with the fall of each of its four feet.

Little Al, exiled from Kate’s room, chases the ugly thing and trips on the rug, imminently to activate its siren.

Kate obeys electronic bleeps upstairs, sending messages on her phone about the people she communicates with on the computer, and the same in reverse. The noises and vibrations never cease.

Mr. Arsfeld is in his home office with the door closed and his headphones on, glancing toward the door for Mrs. as he looks at something and gropes himself.

Mrs. Arsfeld lets the speakerphone resonate through her home office, as far from Mr’s office as can be, as she berates those beneath her and appeases those above.

I strive to twist myself free and depart or, failing that, to tear my supports to shreds and collapse upon them. I only quiver. Damn earthquake retrofit.