Thomas Pierce is the author of the novel The Afterlives and the story collection Hall of Small Mammals. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and elsewhere. A recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, he lives in Virginia with his wife and daughters.
A feature short story from the 100th issue.
Oh, Stephanie, this is not at all what you expected. You’re confused. All of us are, thoroughly. You’ve landed on a new planet and lo and behold it’s populated, incredibly, with other humans. What gives? What are the odds of traveling across the universe and finding people so eerily similar to yourself? Impossible, just about.
Welcome home, sister.
A short story.
The entrance to the building is lined with prickly bushes. Ellie is there early. Not because she wants the job. It’s just that parking was easier to find than she expected. She could care less about this job. When people ask her what kind of job she wants, she usually says, a job where I can use my hands. “Your hands?” her mother often says. “But we all use our hands.” Her mother sells insurance policies and uses her hands every day. How else would she dial out?