25 March 2005

Fantastic Lives of the Secret VanderMetropolis

Jeff VanderMeer is going west for a while, but in his wake has left a bunch of stuff over at Fantastic Metropolis: three secret lives from his upcoming collection of such things (the three on display here are "The Secret Lives of Medical Billing Personnel", "The Secret Lives of Episcopal Priests" [stop chuckling, they're not Catholic], and "The Secret Lives of Ad Executives"); a work of reputed nonfiction, "The Secret Lives of Important People", and, most wonderfully, one of my favorite of Jeff's stories, "Secret Life", a story that reads kind of like Dilbert on absinthe. Here's a little excerpt from it:
At meetings, the mimic would imitate the chatter around him, but afterward no one could remember exactly what he might have said, if anything. They just remembered it had sounded good at the time.

The woman who shared the cubicle to his left often defended him. "He's quiet," she would say. "His lunch doesn't smell. He's polite. He's considerate of other people's privacy."

For long hours, the mimic stared out the window toward the south, and wept the tears that might not be tears at all.

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