I am a SEMIFINALIST in this year’s LITERARY UPSTART: The Search for Pocket Fiction competition, brought to you by The L Magazine.
WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue (at N. 11th), Williamsburg, Brooklyn
I’m going to be reading a short-short story called “An Obstacle to Empathy” that starts like this:
I am conducting an interview with a general who is in the process of authorizing an invasion of a country that borders both his and mine. This—the invasion—is not an out-of-the-ordinary thing for him to do, which is why he feels comfortable doing two things at once, launching a war and chatting with a foreign journalist. The atmosphere in his office, here in the marble palace of the ruling military junta, is relaxed; or, at least, as relaxed as it can be on an intensely hot day like today. Our interview takes longer than it might under more peaceful circumstances. His telephone keeps ringing—his subordinates calling with questions from the front. He needs to take each call, although he gives me an apologetic smile every time.
“He is very sorry,” the general says, picking up the receiver.
“He is entirely all right,” I say.