- Get to sleep or I’ll turn you all into toads! – Nasha leers as she types the last line of the page.

- Oh, c’mon! – Oblak protests – Turn them into toads? Is that the best you can do?

- Like what? – she frowns – Umbrellas? Gummy bears?

- I’m just saying maybe we could take that line out.

- Okay, you know what, now you’re not my friend anymore, and I’m going out – she slams her laptop shut.

- Can I come? – he sniggers putting on his shoes.

- I don’t care, as far as I’m concerned you can grow tits and apply for the Miss Universe contest – her face is harsh as she waits for him to unlock the door and open it for her, not because she likes to be treated like a feeble feminine flower, but because she hates carrying keys in her pockets.

On Larchmont they pass Sam’s Bagels and notice a “HELP WANTED” sign in the window. Without consulting him she enters the shop. He follows.

The guy that runs the place is called Neil, not Sam. He’s young, his hair is black and slick, he tends to lean in too close when talking to someone, as if in confidence.

He asks her if she has any prior experience:


- Would I be expected to make the bagels?

- No – Neil says – just sell them, but when can you start?

- Right now – Nasha spies Oblak fidgeting behind Neil’s back – and I suppose different kinds of bagels have names…

- Sure – Neil takes a paper and a pen from behind the counter at the same time pointing to the wire baskets filled with rings of bread – I’ll need your phone, address…

Then he notices Oblak there, in the empty shop, mimicking a coat stand:

- Can I help you with something, buddy?

- Uh, yeah – Oblak mumbles – I-I’m here about the job…

- Sorry, the position has already been filled – Neil smiles to Nasha, then waits for Oblak to beat it.

Nasha smiles too, a green, sour sort of a smile. When she comes out of the shop some fifteen minutes later Oblak’s on the payphone. She’s not sure what to say:

- I’m starting tomorrow.

- Me too! – he hangs up – Got a job walking dogs, five bucks per hour. Tomorrow I’m walking a Shi-tzu called Francesca!


Francesca screams.