Published in the Autumn, 2009 issue of The American Scholar. Available for free on the magazine’s Web site.
I wrote this piece, off and on, throughout 2007. The American Scholar bought it in the summer or fall of 2008. When it came out, I did an online interview with editorial assistant Vanessa Schipani.
One of the characters in this story, Vernon DeCloud, had appeared a couple of years before in a story called “The Turnaround Is At Hand” in the September, 2007, issue of Esquire. DeCloud’s very first appearance was long before that, in a story called “Heavy Lifting” that appeared in the July 12, 1993 issue of The New Yorker (the full story is available online to magazine subscribers).
Senior editor of The American Scholar Sandra Costich edited the piece along with editor Robert Wilson and fiction editor Frances Kiernan. They are committed to publishing good fiction in the magazine and on their site, and they deserve your support. If you care about the short story in particular, become a subscriber.