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Three Things You Should Know About Peggy Paula

One. In high school Peggy Paula worked as a waitress at the Perkins. Night shifts were her favorite, kids from her school would come in after games or dances with bleary eyes and messy hair and Peggy Paula knew they’d been drinking and smoking those flimsy joints she’d see them passing, the girls with smudged makeup and rats nests in the back of their heads, proud unblinking eyes, scanning the dining room like I dare you, I dare you to guess what I just let Jared or Steve or Casey do to me, I let him and I liked it and I don’t care, and Peggy Paula honored just to be near these girls, envious, taking their orders for French fries and Ranch, keeping their secrets and the sticky lipgloss tubes they’d sometimes leave behind, watermelon and cherry and berry and once a spicy cinnamon that burned Peggy Paula’s lips for an hour, what kind of girl wanted burning lips, poison lips,

How many babies do you have? Which one is better?

I have one baby.

 

What is the best year?

1992.

 

Of all the Dragonlance novels, what is the best Dragonlance novel?

Some may find it unconventional to ignore the foundational Weis and Hickman trilogies, but there is something distinctive about the Elven Nations

Some Frozen Night

Madison, Wisconsin

 

He’s been drinking with this guy for a long time.

It’s good.

It was a rough day and this just sort of happened. The guy sat down and ordered a bourbon, neat, and after ten minutes of silence, the two of them saying nothing and drinking their drinks, looking up at the TV, they started to chat. First about the basketball game, then about campus, then about classes, then about the cold. Then women.

Do you have a new novel?

I do. It’s called Office Girl. It’s about two young people, Odile and Jack, who, in the last year of the last century, decide to start their own art movement. The art movement only lasts two or three weeks. It’s also a kind of love story.

AND THE NIGHT AFTER THAT.

On Tuesday night, around five p.m., the two of them—Odile and Jack—are in the break room just before their shift starts. And they are staring at each other suspiciously, Odile peering from behind a diet soda pop can, eating a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off. And Jack begins to talk first, asking, “So, are you working tonight?”

“Duh,” she says, smiling, with a mouth full of bread.

“I guess so,” he says.