Vaughn must have harbored some toxic mixture of vanity and evasion that prevented him from telling Leah the ax had fallen. He had just wanted the ruse to last until the weekend when he would be able to regroup and soften the blow. So he continued to rise at 6:15 and proceed through the customary rites of steeling himself for the whims of his neurotic clients. He took the pains of a Shakesperian actor to make it all seem natural, the tiny details of shaving and wedging himself into a suit, with that air of being timed, prodded into the world. At 41, he was still lean but tiny cracks had begun to radiate from the corners of his light brown eyes like streets on an intricate map. “Bye honey,” Vaughn would say with the usual abrupt kiss, his demeanor just the right tone of hurried, not fully conscious motion.
Yet when the appointed Saturday came to reveal that he had been unceremoniously jettisoned by McCallister Design, Vaughn found he wasn’t ready to relinquish the role of steady husband. He went out and brought back a dozen donuts instead. It had always amazed him what a bright burst of momentary happiness such a simple act could bring, like an evanescent round of fireworks in the night sky.
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)