Literary Upstart Winner: Penny 

Page 2 of 6

On Sunday, I had brunch with my friend Jean-Baptiste Zazou, transplant from Paris, architect, amateur rower, and international womanizer. He tried to bolster my spirits by reminding me of the promises of bachelorhood, which were, in no particular order, travel, anonymous sex, team sports, and gadgetry.

It was not helping. Nor was November, with its spitting icy rain and gunmetal skies. I switched the subject.

"Rowing today?" I asked. He was in his pristine gray and white athletic gear with many zippers.

"Yes."

"Rainy day for rowing."

He nodded. "It will be hard to hold the whores," he said. His accent was thicker than a summer sausage.

I paused for a second. "Nothing worse than a slippery hooker."

"What?"

"You mean ‘oars,' Baptiste."

"That's what I said."

"No, you said ‘whores.'"

He sipped his black coffee and snickered. "Ah. The ‘h.' Oars. Maybe I should say ‘it will be hard to hold the wood'?"

"Maybe not, Baptiste."

"It is also dirty?"

"Like a minivan skidding down a muddy field."

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