Matt Zingg is one of those writers I’m vaguely jealous of, because he’s a poet who writes far better fiction than any sad attempt at poetry I, a fiction writer, have ever managed. We were part of the same MFA program. I workshopped this story with him, liked it then, and like it even more now, in its published form (though I’m fairly certain he ignored one bit of my advice. Whatever: he got the last laugh).
Chloe cuts hair at an upscale salon named A Parlé la Beaux. Each morning she leaves the house carrying a lemon, the scissor kit I bought her and a book, then catches the 7:30 bus uptown. I always offer to give her a ride but she refuses, saying the bus is where she gets most of her reading done. I do pick her up at night. When I come for her, Chloe is always sitting at her booth reading the last pages of a book and on the ride home, just like clockwork, she asks me to suggest another title.