Imperfect Order

Kevin had to have everything just so. Just so.

There had been too much to organize outside. Overwhelming. Not everyone wanted to be here, but the measured routine suited Kevin fine. He felt calm here. Peaceful.

He got to arrange his room exactly the way he wanted. Recited Civil War dates and train schedules as he separated and categorized craft supplies. Hummed. Pipe cleaners formed the borders between fields of sequins and rows of beads and buttons, ordered in a hierarchy of color. He refused to touch the margarine tub of googly eyes.

After lunch one day, Kevin’s neighbor came in, shoving, crying, and leaned on the table. Laid his palms flat and slid forward.

“No! Stop!” Kevin shouted. “You’re pushing my buttons!”

He watched, helpless, as his carefully arranged stacks and piles inched closer to the edge of the table, inched closer, and then, and then, and then dropped to the linoleum below in a terrible rain of plastic. Red mixed with blue mixed with black mixed with silver, and Kevin’s world went dark.

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