Allison Whittenberg

Life as a Cliché

Black Box by Ruben Cukier

So trite, my boss, stereotypically balding, puts his hands on my shoulder while I was processing words instead of word processing.  Are you some kind of writer? he asks. When I don’t answer, his hands move up to play with my earrings, which dangle parallel to my cheekbones.  Can you work late tonight? He wants to know.

So, I had to fuck him.  Certainly, I can’t support myself off my anemic symbolism, my flabby free verse.  I need to keep my clerical skills employed.

So the next morning, during dictation, in my embroidered white blouse, crisp to the point of snapping, I remain unaltered.  Our eyes meet: his, loaded with metaphor; mine, without the least suggestion of allusion.


About the writer:
A. Whittenberg is a Philadelphia native who has a global perspective. If she weren’t an author, she’d be a private detective or a jazz singer. She loves reading about history and true crime. Her other novels include Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Life is Fine, Tutored and The Sane Asylum.

Image: Black Box by Ruben Cukier (1964- ). Oil on canvas. 60 x 80 cm. 2008. Public domain.