You try to figure out what it is you know, and this is what you come up with: what you know is the fact that Carol knows things that Henry does not know, and also that Carol does not know that she knows things that Henry does not know.
from “Coyote” by Charles Yu
Shh! Listen. Can you hear them whispering in the cubicle next to yours? Are they talking about you and Dorinda down in HR (even though, technically, it wasn’t a “date” date and she never responded to your morning-after texts)? How can you be certain you’re not the subject of this morning’s water-cooler gossip? You can’t; that’s why you try to chew your tuna salad sandwich as quietly as you can, so you can hear and be sure. Office politics and paranoia fuel the short story “Coytoe” by Charles Yu (author of Sorry Please Thank You: Stories and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel) in the Watchlist anthology. What really keeps “Coyote” bouncing along, though, is the wordplay which dashes through the pages like a Benzedrine-fueled mouse working a maze. The story is short enough, you could read it on your lunch hour...once you’re through eavesdropping on Larry and Ashley in the next cubicle, of course.
Watchlist: 32 Short Stories by Persons of Interest, edited by Bryan Hurt, will be published by O/R Books on May 21. The “persons of interest” contributing short stories to the anthology include Etgar Keret, Robert Coover, Aimee Bender, Jim Shepard, Alissa Nutting, Charles Yu, Cory Doctorow, David Abrams, Randa Jarrar, Katherine Karlin, Miracle Jones, Mark Irwin, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Dale Peck, Bonnie Nadzam, Lucy Corin, Chika Unigwe, Paul Di Filippo, Lincoln Michel, Dana Johnson, Mark Chiusano, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Chanelle Benz, Sean Bernard, Kelly Luce, Zhang Ran, Miles Klee, Carmen Maria Machado, Steven Hayward, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Alexis Landau and Bryan Hurt.