Have you seen Jay’s “Dog”?

Jay Ponteri’s new story “Have You Seen My Dog?” is brought to you by the letter D and the kind folks over at Cimarron Review.

I’m in the business of writing essays for students who are desperate enough to cheat. I charge five bucks per page, ten if I have to read one to two books, fifteen to read more than that or do extensive research. Last semester I wrote two essays for Varner—one on The Graduate and the other on Tolstoy’s novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Both earned him A’s.

“Don’t you think it could do you some good to move away from campus, seeing you graduated four years ago?? Shelly says, following me into the kitchen.

Now that’s true, I did graduate some years back. And also true, I’ve stayed around campus. But give me one good reason to leave. I make a decent enough wage selling essays and tending bar at Thoma’s, an off-campus underage dive. Everything I need is within walking distance. Taverns, coffee shops, a top-notch diner, the Mini-mart, a record shop, a bookstore with a decent lit section, a laundromat. The School of Dentistry offers five-dollar cleanings and the Medical College free check ups. Nothing in my life requires an interview suit, a resume, a portfolio. Long-sleeved white undershirts to cover my tattoos. A treacherous internship where all you do is make Xerox copies for some entry-level a-hole. And I hate to be so shallow, but there’s nothing more irresistible than a young woman before she enters her post-college career phase (although some skip career and fall right into the marriage / house-buying / child-bearing sequence). Before all of that happens this woman is reckless, hungry for the experience of making impulsive decisions and damaging herself lightly at many levels. To brush right up against that tender ouch.

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