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Paula Whyman

Paula Whyman’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Hudson ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewThe Southampton Review, and Gargoyle. She received a 2014 Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and her fiction has been selected for anthologies including Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review. She has been a resident at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and The Studios of Key West. “Transfigured Night” is part of her collection of linked short stories. She is also at work on a novel. 


Illustration by Lauren Simkin Berke

Transfigured Night

Winter 2014 | Fiction

My new boss, Chick, was a morbidly obese manic off his meds who hailed from a tiny town I’d never heard of—​Wassily, Louisiana—​a town so small, Chick claimed, the shotgun shacks only had space for pistols. In summers, he told me, you wished for a pistol to shoot your wife or maybe end it all, what with the stillborn air, the chiggers, the mold. I told him my family had lived without air-​conditioning in DC until I was nine, so I knew something about swampy heat. He didn’t respond—​he practically ignored me—​and I didn’t mention the tiny brick house, which was still superior to anything that might be called a shack.