> _


// michael martone

I am in quality control. I am quality control. I control quality here at the Pink Pearl factory. My job is to write out something, anything, on this piece of paper, and, then, test the eraser, a random nub from the lot, and erase, erasing every word. So, I use my test, this simulation, to write to you. I write this to you who worry that there will be evidence, a record, of our secret. "I just don't want anybody hurt," you write to me. "Destroy this," you write at the end of the note where you wrote "I just don't want anybody hurt." I'm an expert, making language disappear. No more phone calls. "Your number will show up on the bill," you say when you call. "Strike me," you whisper, "from the call log on your phone." I control quality. I am qualified. I make space. Gaps. I erase erasures. "We must," you say, "not get carried away," "Delete 'Delete'." "You are driving me crazy," you write in the email, my email dangling down below where I have typed that you drive me crazy not from what you write but the way you hold my head, your fingers rubbing through my hair, how I spread open your lips with my tongue, its tip touching that nub, your pink pearl, sanding it flat, the stubble of my beard, iridescent irritant. "Rubbed raw," I write. Abrasion. My hand in your mouth. You gagged silent. No one should know any of this. Ever. We must control ourselves. Not write down anything. No evidence. Forget even this. Nothing left but some crumbs rubbed clean, brushed from the empty, empty, empty, empty paper.