“Ross Perot and China,” by Ben Lerner
To appear in the New Yorker May 27th, 2019, and read for The Writer’s Voice (both online here)
A few thousand words
I really like Adam’s panicky journey, and the suspense over Amber’s fate right up until he makes to leave the scene. And Amber’s rambling monologue too. I’m trying to piece together the themes. Amber’s contempt for her stepfather, her contempt for her boyfriend; Adam’s mistake regarding the house, his inability to connect with Amber, his pointless attempt to make her see what he sees behind his eyelids. Is Amber to blame for their failed relationship? Or is it that Adam is, like the stepfather, a bit of a blowhard, a bit of a phony, his efforts to communicate insincere? That’s certainly what the title suggests: Amber doesn’t care about Ross Perot and China because she understands that it’s just talk.
Ross Perot. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.