“Do you live under a rock?”
“No, I am a rock. I live under the ground.”
The interrogator scowled, crunching her tapered eyebrows together. She caught her displeasure before it could make her look old.
“And where under the ground do you live?”
“I live under the ground, and the ground is everywhere.”
She tilted her head to one side and followed the streaks of her tied-back hair with slim fingers.
“The ground is not everywhere.”
The rock smiled in the effortlessly benign manner with which rocks smile.
“The ground never ceases to be below your feet, even when it is also above.”
The interrogator pursed her lips and sighed a nasal sigh.
“Right. And how did you say you live under the ground again?”
“I am a rock.”
The rock shifted in his seat, causing specks of quartz to lose the light while other quartz specks caught it. The interrogator was reminded of a time-lapse of stars traversing the night sky; it was very disorienting.
“Are you uncomfortable?”
“I am a rock.”
“Can rocks not be uncomfortable?”
“Can rocks speak?”
“Well, not many I imagine.”
“All rocks speak. Few are heard.”
She leaned back in her chair; it creaked more loudly than she would have liked.
“I find that hard to believe.”
“They speak to the ground that churns them; to the water in the stream they leave their words.”
“Aren’t those stones?”
“I do not follow.”
“In the stream – aren’t those stones?”
“Rocks are not geologists.”
She glared at him. He received her patiently.
“Some say that stones are smooth and rocks are rough, that stones are small and rocks are large. How it suits you, I am one or both or neither.”
“You’re skirting the issue here.”
“I am afraid I see none.”
“…A rock is not a stone.”
“Then to you I am one.”
She leaned forward in her chair; it creaked again.
“Please don’t rhyme.”
The interrogator pinched the upper bridge of her nose with sharp-arched nails, shifting her sour gaze to the clock hung high in one corner of the room. The rock held his smile serenely, perhaps even sympathetically – though it was hard to tell that much for certain.