by Alex Epstein
Due to a tiny crack in the time-space continuum, E. received a remarkably polite rejection letter from a publisher for a novel he had not written. He threw the letter in the trash and forgot about it. A few days later another one arrived, from a different publisher, with lavish praise for the imagination and style, followed by a sincere apology for the novel being “unsuited to this publisher’s overall line.” And then another one. E. noticed that his wife sometimes came home late from work, claiming things were busy at the office. One evening he switched on all the electrical appliances in the house, and the bulb in the closet burnt out. His wife started turning off her cell phone in the afternoons. He repeated the experiment with the bulb a few more times. On the coat rack next to the front door he found a scarf he did not remember she had. The letters kept arriving. This went on month after month. Finally, he gave in and bought a typewriter at a secondhand shop.
All rights reserved by the author. Illustration © 2012 by David Polonsky. Translated by Jessica Cohen.
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