Published in Joyland, December 2022
The typing in the back room thundered pompously. I met Mona in this exchange office in St. Vitus eighteen months ago. I had just peeled myself out of the hands of my boss and buried my nose in the novel I was reading at the time. My boss fancied himself a writer. Thirty-seven, thirty-eight, he was a tall, bony bachelor. He moonlighted as an editor of an environmental magazine with a circulation of zilch and dabbled in fiction. Editor had a needlefish mouth and a hard-edged jawline. His face looked gaunt, scripture-like, and I got the feeling that inside he gaped empty as a walnut shell.