Mint said something then Roger coughed, in another room Jacob put something on a shelf. Roger thought he could hear it: it had occurred (that is, the placement of the thing on the shelf had occurred) between the moment Mint had said something and the moment that Roger had coughed. When Jacob came into their room, the both of them sat, Mint on the bed with the comforter and Roger on the sofa with the plastic sheet. Roger asked Jacob had he put something on the shelf. Jacob made a reply, with reference to the shelf, and Roger went to a different room. Mint rose from the bed and tapped Jacob on the shoulder. Jacob expressed an idea, which touched on the activity Mint had just performed (the tapping) then Mint thought of something else and made a reply to Jacob. Jacob roared with laughter and they both fell to placing things in a box, then to placing things on a shelf, the shelf that was by the mirrors. (Roger looked into the room, saw what they were doing, and coughed.)

Mint looked into the mirror and said something, then he turned in profile and said a second thing, which was thought to have been in jest. Jacob looked to one side then to the other side. He expressed an idea that pertained to Julie, and Mint responded with a reciprocal notion of the person he had named, and thought of Julie, then Jacob and Mint smiled, two nice smiles, and Mint looked closely in the mirror. Mint looked closely at the face that he saw reflected in the mirror and whispered something to it, which seemed “bitter to himself” (as he would later express).

Jacob had an idea about the mirror, and a separate but nearly simultaneously occurring idea about Mint’s activities around the mirror, then raised both of his hands toward his own head. After a period of looking at them, he put his hands (fingers) through his hair, about which he had the idea that he had washed it recently, which in fact he had. It felt that way and it was that way, was roughly what he thought about this: that he had recently washed his hair and his hair indeed felt recently washed, which was not how it always worked out. He had an idea about the conditioner he had used and expressed this idea to Mint. Mint expressed an idea about hair washing, about how he did it, then put his hands on either side of the mirror, staring in. Mint had an idea about something to say around the same time that Jacob did.

The room was quite small. Roger came into the room then left it. In another room, he started beating on the walls, with a hammer or mallet it sounded like, but they weren’t sure, then he started breathing so hard, in and out, that they could hear him though they were in the next room over, maybe a couple rooms over; then he stopped and it was quiet. When Roger next entered the room, he expressed an idea about Julie, then Julie herself appeared, somewhat behind him, with a smiling face. Roger coughed and the others came near to her, indeed they had come almost as near as to her as Roger, but Roger remained in between them.

Roger coughed. Julie expressed an idea about it, which made Jacob laugh and Roger smile nicely. Mint also smiled nicely and handled an object in his pocket. Roger, who had been nearest to Jacob, now moved nearer to Julie, then, expressing an idea, moved far from the group and out of sight. The garden gate clanged shut — they all heard it.

Jacob and Mint expressed ideas to Julie, who not only listened carefully but responded with ideas of her own that she expressed, or mainly expressed, and neither Jacob nor Mint was aware of, or would have minded, that Julie thought more than what she expressed, for Jacob himself often thought more than he expressed; Jacob, indeed, thought more than he expressed about Julie in particular, and Mint was often unaware that he expressed less than he (Mint himself) thought, his thought seeming nothing that a person would say. Perhaps Jacob’s thoughts were like that at times: things a person wouldn’t say because they oughtn’t even be thought.

Roger and Jacob thought more than they expressed about the person and demeanor of Julie; and Julie thought more than she expressed about the work of Roger, Jacob, and Mint, which had not been precisely what they’d discussed; and Mint, though perhaps unaware that what he thought was quite expressible, knew that he thought and knew what he thought: thought of himself, without expressing it, as being a sad person, as a person without hope.

Julie had something in her pocket too, which she began to handle, the expressions going back and forth, and the clang of the garden gate was heard again and soon there reappeared Roger, expressing ideas and smiling and laughing. And so Julie and Jacob expressed ideas that set them all laughing, except for Mint, who smiled nicely, and Roger, whose laughter was interrupted by coughing.

Then Jacob set down the box, which was heavy, and Julie and Mint brought forward the objects in their pockets, respectively, a personal check and a stainless steel key, the latter of which Julie took and the former of which Jacob took as Julie expressed an idea, which made Mint and Jacob smile nicely, while Roger, ducking to the side, spit.

As Roger, Jacob, and Mint all left, Mint had an idea he was conscious of not expressing but had articulated for himself: that he couldn’t understand at all how people laughed so easily, and suddenly Julie expressed an idea to Mint who stopped and turned to be only with her while the others went through the gate. She expressed an idea to him, and he shook his head, and she asked him a question, and he put up his hands, and she expressed an idea and he felt very sorry. Then she looked and he looked, smiling nicely, but he didn’t meet her eyes again.

Jacob and Roger didn’t express their ideas. There was a pounding now on this part, and now on that part, of the nearby wall, which they both were faced away from. It grew loud, quiet, seemed to have stopped, then started again, and with renewed vigor, before suddenly once again stopping. Then there was a little tapping in just the one corner. Then it was in two corners that the gentle, almost pleasant, tapping occurred, growing louder and sharper; then weaker, buffered; then multiplying in more and more spots, so that now the whole wall seemed alive and near bursting in a deafening crescendo with the thundering of many hammers of all sizes, here and there, high and low, gentle and pounding, steady and intermittent, held by a whole troop of workmen, it must have been, then all dying down as there arose a savage whirring and, its companion sound, a fierce wall-shaking grinding, the inferior giving way to the superior, the tapping and scraping to the whirring and grinding.

They faced away from this wall. Roger turned to the side and coughed and moaned, and Jacob, though moaning also, turned to his side and slobbered and spit, having coughed up something that looked to him “disgusting”, he had actually said, yet also perhaps betokening improvement; then rolling again on to his back, he closed his dim eyes and expressed something.

Roger reached for something, breathed heavily out. Mint handed it to him, whatever it was, and Roger greedily stuffed his face with it. Mint expressed an idea to Jacob, listened carefully to Jacob’s reply, then took the action that that reply most seemed to call for, it seemed to him.

It was right at this time that Julie came in, “plopped” the plastic bag on the plastic chair and announced a conception which made them all roar with laughter. Burst out laughing. Roger and Jacob expressed some ideas. Roger and Jacob laughed and then coughed. Mint, his action completed, found he had difficulty expressing his thoughts, though he smiled and even started laughing. Mint wasn’t sure he had thoughts to express, yet he had thoughts. No ideas, no ideas! Mint told himself, surprised by the sudden appearance of Julie.

He had a positive thought about Julie, which he was conscious of as having occurred to him, (perhaps it was in the manner of a cough, he supposed, a very positive sort of “clod clearing” cough, as he thought of it), and was conscious also of having this very negative thought of himself — it was rather negative yes; yet also, too, kind of positive. He appeared to himself, as an idea, like a healthy positive gob of phlegm he might have got out of himself, as a body, was the thing. And the thought of Julie was the positive cough that got out the also positive appearance of phlegm.

(And the whirring and grinding of himself, he thought, of the walls of himself. The whirring and shaking and pounding of his walls: and the phlegm and cough of his thought of her and the cough and phlegm of his thought of him. And the syrup, yes the cough syrup –the cough syrup? An idea: he thought this was an idea but perhaps he wasn’t expressing it right. Not like an adult who had an idea. Not like a person who had courage would express their idea when it was unpopular. A real adult person who could laugh at his own idea if it should sound funny coming out. “A real adult was one with his expressed idea in a way he could not be,” was something he confusedly thought.)

Julie thought not that she had come to see something new and positive in Mint, but that previously, though she had seen in him something positive, she had previously only seen it negatively expressed. Mint, having previously been merely “not elsewhere”, Julie now saw as being here, so to speak.

This worked out and thoughts were expressed. Motions, gestures accompanied the thoughts, or sometimes occurred at random. A man by the wood of the fence was alone. Many saw smiles and made smiles themselves; some laughed; garments were rearranged by gravity or by their wearers; silverware and plates were set upon tables; bugs flew, and the lights went on.

After still more thoughts were had and still more expressions were made, people all said Roger must have been drinking the rum punch (which of course he was) because he was talking on and on about “Labor” and … “Yes I am talking about Labor again,” he confessed, though he was really thinking and talking about a topic somewhat broader than the Labor movement (about which he was also, however, he could also be passionate): about how good it was to work, and how bad it was not to work, and how much more interested he sincerely was in cleaning up after parties than in being a guest at them — which was “just what he liked,” his preference. The drinking when not thirsty and the eating when not hungry and the talking and thinking when there was nothing much to think and say doesn’t much appeal to me he told them. And all the abundance and extravagance when there is so much want; and all the relaxing and idleness when there was so much to do; and all the toys and the games when there is so much waste; and so on, and so on, so that it felt like “a breath of fresh air” to Roger, when everyone, finally taking the hint, started in, as a giant team, with the clean up: lifting and stacking and clearing and scrubbing, and breaking up certain things and putting certain other things back into designated places, all the guests and all the honored couples, inspired by Roger’s speech and enthusiasm, and even the jogger who had wandered in and had leaned exhausted against the wood fence, even he had taken a keen interest in supervising the recycling station. So that soon people were commenting that, if someone didn’t stop Roger, he would would embark on some sort of home improvement project, and jokingly hid from him some masonry in need of repair. And so on (though in fact Roger did see the Masonry and came up with a plan) leaving the place much better than they found it.

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