/ Thomas Zigal THE PHONE WAKES ME. I fumble across her sheeted body to lift the receiver. It's my old friend from the Writing Program, eighteen years now, a time before the boom. The younger practitioners consider us rugged precursors, treat us with deference, as though we deserve preservation. "I've got another one for you, if you want it," my friend chirps. For several years he has been the placement director for the Conference Circuit. We once taught together at a woodsy Uberai arts coUege in California (or was it the one in Oregon?), before we both gave up the aspiration. As I recaU, he won an O. Henry that same year, though I can't remember exactly what year that was. "TeU me where I am," I mumble, struggling to open my eyes. The motel room carries the faint stale remnant of past cigarettes, industrial air freshener, roach spray. "Let's see," my friend says, pausing, it seems, to shuffle through his printout. "Tucson, I beUeve," he says. "Yes, yes, Tm sure of it. Today's the twenty-fourth. Did you get lucky?" It comes back to me, slowly, the closing ceremonies last evening, the drinks, the reveling carload at the
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1990
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