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R J Keefe

My first impulse was to file this entry under "Notes from the American Hell," but by the time I'd finished, the contours of social jockeying at Versailles under the ancien régime were all too apparent, and I saw that you've captured something lamentably timeless.


Mr. OL, definitely one of your best. How you craft these beauties and still have time to put in exceesive work time for The Man (or Some Man or A Man) is beyond my limited time/space comprehension. The one (pleasant) surprise in the story for me was that none of the men of "idle remunerativeness" savaged the New Guy. In your previous takes on Shady Glen, restraint and diplomacy were not characteristics I remember being demonstrated.
A question, if you please.
How is your daughter operating within this uppermost atmosph?


I felt terrible reading this. Good job.


I too felt terrible... on so many levels. I felt bad for the loser, because in some ways I am that man, but then I'm also the loner who know enough to keep his head down... and I hate those effortlessly rich guys... arg!

If you were a TV show, you would be The Office, for your ability to engender both sympathy and disgust for your characters.


kerouac once wrote

"wither goest thou, america, in thy shiny car in the night?"

obviously, shady glen!! or at least, that is a stop along the way...

brilliant writing, by the way....

Once one is aware of this kind of social jockeying, and the inherent emptiness it often indicates, then what becomes the "shiny car" that one comes to value.. what becomes the mechanisms of social standing within one's own soul?

art, soul, moments of clarity through the schmoozing smog.. aloneness, aloofness, all become the NEW social currency within ones own self...

I like it, a shiny coin of observation and new writing... that to me is worth more than the coin of new car.. again, nice writing...

maybe the new guy will come back, but with a different set of eyes, other currency to toss around.. maybe he could be a buddy.. ya never know.. maybe his old 'hood was the arty one, and he is really a frustrated oil/watercolor painter who lucked into a good job and has "stuff" for the first time (probably not though, but check his fingernails for paint anyway)


Wow, powerful writing. It's like "Sammy" from Updike's "A&P" grew up and moved to Shady Glen.

Thane Plambeck

Reminded me of Paul Klee's

Two Men Meet, Each Believing the Other to Be of Higher Rank

In Klee's drawing, they're both wretched grotesques.

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