For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Scandale D'Estime”

Barry Hannah


Now and then there was a question of what we should do with the new women in our heads. You might go out with some local girl, but she was not really there, she was not the real faraway city woman in your cat head. You might kiss her and moil around — but she was, you knew, fifth string, a drear substitute for the musical woman in a black long-sleeve sweater you had in your mind on the seashore of the East — the gray, head-hurting East, very European to my mind, where you thought so much and the culture labored so heavy on you your heard hurt. The beauty and the wisdom of this woman — uttered along the seashore in weary sighs — was a steady dream, and I woke with it, pathetically, to attack a world fouled by the gloomy usual. I yearned to talk and grope with a woman who was exhausted by the world and would find me a “droll” challenge. She would be somewhat older. She either signed, or mumbled pure music. I had no interest in the young freshness of girls at all.