Register Thursday | May 23 | 2024
Paule Illustration by Tom Kitchen.


Excerpted from La Solde (La Mèche). Translation by Melissa Bull.

THE DOOR’S OPEN. Paule greets me in the hall, plodding toward me with her timid gait. She knocks, clumsily, against my left ear when she attempts to embrace me. Her awkwardness makes me ill at ease.

I know I shouldn’t have—

I let an impatient sigh slip out. Paule thrusts her face into my neck and shoves her chin violently into my throat. I try to disengage myself but she misinterprets my move. She just hangs on harder. I’m practically asphyxiating before she finally loosens her grip. She imagines that this is some kind of game, so she darts off, and I feign left before plunging after her, into the living room.

I smile, hoping to put her at ease.

A little too quick, she barks, “You wanna sit?”

“Sure, that’d be nice,” I say.

I take a seat on the big sofa, and despite myself ...

Subscription Required!

Already have a subscription? Try logging in.