Van called me a few minutes after “Rendezvous” went live, and began her critical assessment with three words pronounced with full stops between them: “Oh. My. God.”
I took that as a compliment. “You like it?”
“No!” she almost shouted.
This stopped me cold. “Really? I thought it was kind of clever, the way their journeys ended—”
“Oh, I get it,” she said. “I understand the story, and don’t get me wrong, the writing is very … nice.” she said, though her tone seemed to suggest the opposite.
“If that’s the case, then—”
“It’s just that …” She stopped, and I could hear her arranging her thoughts. “Look, I really like your work, and I try to be supportive, but …” She took a deep breath. “If I find myself in one more story about about an ordinary person meeting a strange and unusual way to die I’ll just—” The line went quiet.
“Um,” I said tentatively, after a moment. “Funny you should mention that.” I forced a chuckle.
“I’m kind of working on something right now.”