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Editor's Cut

Editor's Cut

A new short story.

Photograph by John W. MacDonald

The drugged, antelope gait of the mail carrier, the bloated envelopes, the four hollow horns of a square. Behind curtains, I wait. In the old days, years before this, I would rush to open each envelope, hurriedly poking and sliding the blade of the opener, sometimes snagging the folded query letter. Ah, the editor’s first cut. Typically, thereafter, I would dismantle the author bio and list of previous publications, from the twenty-five page sample, and, with paperclips flying off the walls, go ahead and separate the nastily Xeroxed reviews from the all-important SASE. Self-Absorbed Shit Enclosed? Sorry Asshole’s Silly Entreaty? Then—back to the cover letter—and in no time—damage done by an author making awkward claims about potential sales and the burgeoning market for the post-post-modern, or by speaking to their erudite knowledge on sundry subjects or, like a simple novel ...

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