For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“It Sounds Like You're Feeling”

Suzanne Rivecca

Excerpt

It is the fault of your supervisor, Tyler, and his vain attempts to mentor you in the finer points of helpline etiquette. It is the fault of Tyler wending in and out of the rows of phone cubicles with the compact wariness of a fleshy, tubular fish, tensely expectant of denunciation as always, coming up to you and saying, “You can't give in to them,” during a rare lull in the insane populations' siege. It is the fault of Tyler draping one arm over the wall of your cubicle with his other hand on his hip, his hair sharply sculpted and smelling of product and his fingers drumming the pebbled-gray cubicle wall inches above a yellowing postcard claiming that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you do with what happens to you.

It is the fault of Tyler saying, “The caseworkers are on call twenty-four/seven. They need relief.

Then he says, “The cardinal rule is CYA. Remember?”

This stands for Cover Your Ass, a dictum that caused homohobic snickers during training. Your training-session notes contained phrases like MIRRORING IS ESSENTIAL and NO ADVICE!!!