Readings — From the February 2014 issue

The Mission

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By Joy Williams, from Little Star #5. Williams is the author of several works of fiction, including Honored Guest.

A Mr. Hill was doing my paperwork.

“What will you take away from this experience?” he asked me.

I looked at him, a little wildly, I guess.

“What do you think you will learn from the incarceration experience?” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

Mr. Hill wore a pink shirt and looked tired. His eyes were bloodshot.

“Have you been swimming?” I asked.

“I haven’t been swimming,” he said frankly.

I thought of Mr. Hill doing a strenuous butterfly in a blue, cool but overchlorinated pool deep in the earth beneath the Mission.

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