The sleek glass doors slid open to admit me and

I walked through the atrium past the oddly-placed Starbucks kiosk

to the elevator, which I took to the seventh floor.

The reception area into which I emerged was unusually luxurious,

not what I’d come to expect from offices in mid-Manhattan.

The series of abstract prints on the wall was merely

anodyne but the framing was museum-quality. The receptionist I approached

had an easy smile I felt was a little misplaced —

the smile of a woman who sold expensive designer jewelry.

I gave her my name — she asked me to wait.


Paraphrases from the novel 10:04 by Ben Lerner.