They sat around the table, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, ashes piled up in several tea cups and plates, arguing about who came first.
I was, he said, I am certain of it, I was borned, the same way people have always been borned.
No, the next one said, it was me, I know this is true, I have proof.
There was laughter.
Show me your proof, the other one said.
He raised his shirt, showing off a belly button full of lint. The other two, successively, lifted their shirts, showing their navels as well. They were identical in every respect despite the variety of lint.
This proves nothing, he said, we each have navels, they could've engineered the navels, don't you think?
The other one shrugged.
What do you know, the next one said.
I know everything you know, and more, the other said.
Shut up, he said, we've been through all of this before.
What if there are more, the other one said.
So what? Millions, there could be millions, the next one said.
But if there are millions, I am the one borned, he said. He lifted his shirt and showed his navel.