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The Short Form

“Eating Out”

Leonard Michaels


I dialed. The burglar answered and said Ikstein wasn't home. I said tell him I called. The burglar laughed. I said, “What's funny?” The burglar said, “This is a coincidence. When you called I was reading a passage in Ikstein's diary which is about you.” I said, “Tell me what it says.” The burglar snorted. “Your request is compromising. Just hearing it is compromising.” I said, “I'm in the apartment below Ikstein's. we can easily meet and have a little talk about my request. I'll bring something to drink. Do you like marijuana? I know where Ikstein hides his marijuana. I have money with me, also a TV set and a Japanese camera. It's no trouble for me to carry everything up there. One trip.” He said if I came upstairs he would kill me.

We read it in A Girl With a Monkey.