grete | mutti | papa |the servant girl | the chief clerk

serialized excerpt 5 of 5 from Lance Olsen’s Anxious Pleasures :

an unwriting of Kafka’s Metamorphosis that will be published spring 2007 by Shoemaker & Hoard.

the chief clerk 

If commerce is a form of prayer, then any businessman worth his salt has a certain obligation to press forward toward fiscal enlightenment in the interest of his firm regardless of a setback or two, no matter how ostensibly egregious, regardless of the way, say, he awoke alone in bed twelve days ago to discover the flat empty, his chubby wife gone with his little girl Lotte, a babyblue letter awaiting him on the armoire alleging that their life together had not been what their life together et cetera, or the way, say, about his ten-hour workdays, six-day-a-week schedule (plus Sundays, when required), pledge to no private property in or upon his office desk, a fortnight’s vacation every second year at the convenience of the company—the way about these matters that babyblue letter remained mute, choosing instead to accuse him of et cetera, while here he stands in this shabby room, all marshy barn-warmth, pressing forward beside a disheveled oaf still slothing about in his morning robe well past seven in the a.m., although, were I to pass his recalcitrant son at the office, I confess I am not altogether confident I should be able to point him out to a co-worker, except perhaps to say that there is, I believe, something about him to do with a long tapering inverted triangle of a face, sharp cheeks, big ears, buggy brown eyes, if I am remembering the correct employee, and not someone else, something to do with how his desk is somewhat too small for him, giving passersby the impression of a gangling, stoop-shouldered young man riding a boy’s bicycle, or with, I seem to recall, his most recent review, which concluded with the statement that his effort over the course of the year had been, at best, quote minimally acceptable unquote, although the truth seems to be I became aware of this, and him, only this past month, after the fellow apparently complained to an associate, who subsequently relayed the complaint to his superior, who subsequently relayed the complaint to me, that someone had conceivably tampered with the items on his, Samba’s, de

Ah, here we go: the lock. 

The knob turning. 

The door commencing to swing open.


grete | mutti | papa |the servant girl | the chief clerk

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