Mr. Schmeckler

Very intellectual, says Polly. The rollers in her hair, a dozen frozen-juice cans, make the satirical bob that follows dragonesque and fierce.

The paper’s hopeless? I shuffle the pages in order, out of order.

Polly uses an index finger to slide a single sheet out of the stack. The sad part is that it could have been any sheet, a fact Polly soon shares, pointing here and there in critique.

I scramble to note every comment. I forgive her her tone—a self-reflexive slip, really, how she covers her genius with generosity. We work until daylight, until I’m caffeine-shaky at the keys and she’s fixing footnotes. She lies across my bed, her long hair unspooling off the rollers, her fairest-of-them-all skin surrounding “devouring eyes”—an English-class description—not to mention a set of knockers the covers only half-cover, nightgowns for her being too bourgeois and confining.

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