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Fake Nice

By Bruce Gunther


You stand a few feet apart,

wishing the coffee maker would hurry,

exchanging the usual pleasantries

about weather, children, gas prices.


He’s the guy who inspired murderous

thoughts in an important meeting,

using bazooka and cannon to shoot

down your grand idea, smirk on his face.


You long for the cubicle

with its look of busy-ness and despair.

Pictures of the family in happier times,

a framed World Series ticket stub.


He’s on the fast climb, stepping

over corpses on his way toward

a job in which one day he’ll be

your boss – complete with corner office.


The coffee machine sounds like someone

sucking the last drop through a straw.

Like fingernails on a chalkboard,

you almost say before finally realizing

you ran out of things to say centuries ago.


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