Cleaning Up, or: Past Performance is No Guarantee

  I don’t write a lot of fiction, but when I do it definitely bends toward the comic. I’d like to do rather more of it. I originally wrote this short story at the Spoleto Writers’ Workshop in Spoleto, Italy, in the summer of 1999. It was an idyllic week where all I had to do was hang out with other writers, eat wonderful Umbrian cuisine, attend the occasional class and take part in various writing exercises. It seems a million miles away now, but I can see it as clearly as I do the view out my window today. I was living in Slovenia at the time, and I expected that the creative writing I’d be doing in Spoleto would involve my experiences in Central Europe. Instead, curious things popped up that surprised no one more than me. I ended up exorcising the demons of Long Island and my youth and paying a certain kind of tribute to a certain milieu that I had observed, from a distance, for quite a while. I’m presenting it here with only slight revisions from the original, for those who, for whatever reason, might be interested to read it.

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