He tried to still his thoughts.
Circular breathing. He counted in with the breath: one-belly, two-ribs, three-shoulders. He attempted to send his breath into the interstitial area, wherever that was––! And then out again: shoulders-one, ribs-two, three-belly. And pause.
He was happy to pause. He could out-pause anyone. Not that it was a competition.
The instructor went on, and he decided to keep pausing. He'd hold still, he figured, and then nip back in next time.
Like Arlo Guthrie, he'd just wait for the chorus to come around again. Circular breathing was frustrating and difficult, but the practice was only forty minutes out of a day.
Ah, there it was: Inhale. He did, trying to make the breath open first his belly, then ribs, and finally, shoulders. Or what would be shoulders, had he any. Ribs? His ribs were fused into carapace, and everyone knew a carapace didn't –– shouldn't!–– flex. And what chance did his belly have against the dusty plastron? He lived inside a shell corset, and he might just as soon ask his breath to give him wings.
He recognized the monkey-brain resistance and focused on the air moving through his sinuses. He sipped the air in and ahhed the breath out. His eyes closed. In. Out. In.
The class finished and the day turned into night before he opened his bleary eyes again. The night was absolute, fog blotting out the yellow streetlights and the stars alike. Damn, he thought. How long was I out? I wonder what year it is.