For Roger Angell (1921-2022)
Long ago, on the off-chance I might run into the Devil at the Crossroads,
I prepared a modest negotiation list (not worth trading my soul for, but perhaps Mephisto would settle my soles:
1) Appear on WBAI
2) teach at Columbia University
3) publish in The Village Voice
4) publish in the Paris Review
5) publish in The New Yorker.
By 1986 I had yet to crack the toughest nut, The New Yorker (of course, The New Yorker). I sent off an un-agented story, like buying a lottery ticket for the cost of roundtrip stamps. One afternoon, I slowly opened the mailbox, ever-hoping to find my SASE feather-light, sans story. Once again, not again. Upstairs, I clicked my blinking answering machine.