One by one, the headshots popped to life on the Zoom conference which was supposed to have started promptly at 12:30 (it was 6 minutes past). Two of them waved silently, but the remaining faces stared blankly ahead, as if not quite convinced there were eyes and ears beyond their laptops. After waiting a beat for everyone to settle, the infamous gray dome of Malefactor, complete with ornate cowl, called the meeting to order.

“Can everyone see and hear me?” he asked, voice booming. “I had some problems on our last call, the video kept cutting out and my mic…

Joshua Grasso

English professor at East Central University (OK); PhD from Miami University (OH); eternal student and lover of books

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