The new temp didn’t seem very bright. Just something about him. He’d taught English in Korea and now he was home: he would always talk about that, or anime. The two ran together in the minds of the permanent staff.

He said the culture was different, it wasn’t easy to live that way. He would just get tired. At the first he loved being strange. He could say what he wanted. But now he would rather be home where things made sense, and relax.

It was suspicious, somehow. Did he have to talk so much? He was answering what nobody asked him. Was he stupid? You look up, and he was standing with his mouth open.

He didn’t seem to catch on to the work. What he could manage, he did slowly, and he filed the papers out of order and mis-stamped things, no matter what you did. And there was something superior in his attitude.

He was standing behind the older temp one day. He’d had to vacate his cubicle temporarily for repair work. He was standing there, staring at her back, whenever she looked, for half an hour. The work director passed by.

Were you needing some work, she said. He mumbled something. They went into another room. Later in the day the older temp asked where he had gone. He won’t be coming back. A frightened look across her face. We had to let him go, said the manager. She made a defensive gesture near her chest.

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