Oscar dreaded his afternoon meeting with his boss, Phil Foglio.

How would Oscar Berg explain the countless hours he had

spent researching the assassination of the Czar and his family?

He felt a kind of panic like a frightened undergrad,

coming to an examination for which he had not studied.

It was the kind of panic that recurs in dreams,

the kind of dreams one has decades after leaving school.

The course one signed up for and forgot all about.

The examination overlooked until there’s nothing to do but fail.

How would Oscar explain himself to his boss, Phil Foglio?


Paraphrases from the novel A Shooting Star by Wallace Stegner.