At times he felt that his breathing had become an insistent nagging thing. He began to see his lungs as these twin bullies that rose him, chest heaving, from sleep and into a grey smear of a world. The sound of air whistling over his palate or out from his nostril began to grate like fingernails on a chalkboard. A consistently taunting metronome. He began to hold his breath as long as he could. Anytime he spoke it was in great gasps and spurts. He wished that he could just absorb oxygen out of the air as he sat, inert like the continental shelf, sloping down off the coast into the green slumbering depths . . .