It had been six months since Drew was laid off from his job as an analyst for Rimland Containers, and already the notion was growing that he could be stuck in that limbo for the long haul. His lingering resentment made it hard to keep up certain social pretenses. The sober habits of professionalism ingrained over the years—the six-thirty wake up, the unwrinkled shirt, and close shave had almost completely fallen by the wayside. It stood to reason that gym shoes and a worn ﬂannel shirt would sufﬁce when he didn’t expect to see anyone except a clerk at the pharmaceutical counter or a neighbor walking his Malamute. People cut him some slack in the beginning, gave him time to absorb the blow, imbued with the knowledge that catastrophe was often without fault, and, on occasion, wholly random.
But appearances mattered and empathy had a ﬂeeting half-life. After a while, the initial support of Drew’s friends seemed to be morphing into an unspoken indictment. Some of his more distant acquaintances took their aloofness further and seemed to be calculating how long it would be before his and Zoe’s nest egg ran out. He’d gotten so that he could detect the faintest slights, though they were often so rapid and ethereal that he usually failed to note them in real time, only feeling their mild sting as the encounters unspooled later in recollection.
December 20, 2017
The editing and proofreading and thousand other things that go into putting a book together are thankfully finished and my story collection Home and Castle is at last coming out in early January. (see www.snakenationpress.org for the Editor’s statement and further details). Most of the stories in it were originally published in literary journals such (…read more)
THOMAS BENZ graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame. He recently won the 2017 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for a short story collection called “Home and Castle.” The book is to be published by Snake Nation Press in the fall. In the last several years, he has had fifteen stories (…read more)