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I look up, and the clock reads 1 A.M. I last checked exactly two minutes and four seconds ago, and I'd already checked three minutes and thirty-seven seconds ago. There's still some time left, before the end of the shift.

For the last two minutes and four seconds, I've been looking outside the shop window; I saw ten boys and girls hanging out — after all, it was Saturday until roughly an hour ago. I'm a few years older than them, I don't know them, yet I'd much prefer to drop everything I'm doing right now and join one of those groups, but I can't. I've been standing for the last two minutes and four seconds, locked up in this huge electronics store, weighed down by the pistol I carry in my holster. To be honest, I've never used it since I was given this task.

This is what I've been doing for more than a year now, for hours, making sure that glowing ball appearing and disappearing does no damage and that no civilian ever sees it. When I quit the Army to join SPeV-I, no one told me I'd be doing this.

Dario and Caterina are doing this thankless job alongside me.

Dario is a terribly boring person. I tried to bond with him, but this is nothing more than work to him; he's the oldest agent in the entire SPeV-I-003-IT squad. He never warms up to his partners, because he knows very well that they'll ask to be transferred, sooner or later.

Caterina is a beautiful girl, and she's my age. She was tricked into coming here, like I was. We used to talk a lot at first: it felt like we understood each other well. However, we ran out of conversation starters exactly seventy-three days ago.

Since then, surrounded by all these computers, phones, washing machines, printers and all sorts of electronic device, it's almost always quiet. The silence is broken by some comment of ours, every now and then, or by the noise of cars speeding outside.

This silence does nothing but distend time. Minutes feel way too long, and days feel endless. This feeling squeezes my stomach and never leaves me, not even when I'm jogging in the morning, when I'm working out or when I'm buying groceries. Boredom is making my life naffer and naffer.

The longer I stay trapped in this monotony, the more often my mind happens to go off on a tangent.

My thoughts become very quick, forming an endless loop: first I nostalgically remember a moment from my childhood, then I start philosophizing, then I think back to a trauma I experienced, without ever stopping.

Four days ago, I thought back to every time I fell with my skis, my bike, and my scooter. Then I remembered that time my father beat me up.

Two days ago, I pictured my gun opening, showing me all of its components. I also dreamt of sailing across the Atlantic alongside a pirate crew.

Yesterday, Dario bumped into an electric razor box, making it fall. The thud echoed throughout the store. I pictured the trajectory of the box, tracking a graph of it with my mind and thinking of all the laws of dynamics which made that event possible.

At the beginning of this shift, I fantasized about saving Caterina from a gang of armed robbers barging into the store through the window.

Before those young people passed by, I was thinking back to my primary school teacher.

Dario brings me back to Earth by tapping my shoulder.

«The shift is over» he tells me.

I check the clock again: it's 2 A.M. I've been daydreaming for an hour. I quickly enter the store to get changed, and greet the three guards relieving us. I leave the store with my two partners; no one speaks, we just dismiss each other with a simple "good night".

As I walk towards my place, with the cold air of January penetrating my bones, I stop by a park, which is completely deserted at this hour. I lie down on a bench to stare at the few stars visible among the clouds, and start thinking again. I think of running away, quitting my job as soon as I can, take my car and never return. I scrap the idea right away: if I ran away, the Foundation would hunt me down forever. I get up from the bench and go home, with a single thought persecuting me:

"Tomorrow will be just like today"

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