The sun beat down with an unbearable intensity. My head throbbed and sweat trickled down the back of my neck, but at the same time I felt my discomfort as something separate, disconnected from my physical being, as if I were observing the discomfort of a stranger. Objects near and far shimmered in the heat, giving the sense of unrelenting motion, even though the air lacked any notion of a breeze. A solitary cypress at the far end of the beach beckoned like a gypsy promising unspeakable delights. I plodded onward, disconcerted by the sight of a turgid mound of humanity resting beneath the sparse shade of the tree. I admit to having developed a sort of proprietary fondness for the twisted conifer and I was disinclined to share its meager shade with anyone.
“Pardon me, sir,” I said, addressing the disheveled lout sitting beneath my tree, “I’ve traveled some distance in anticipation of a few moments of solitude here. Might you draw upon the depths of your own good nature and depart in advance of your proclivities?”
“I’d rather not,” he replied gruffly.
I dropped my satchel and took up a position on the other side of the tree, extracting the sodden pages of my manuscript from the bag. I began to read aloud, as had been my intent, and likewise my desire for solitude. “‘Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The telegram from the Home says: YOUR MOTHER PASSED AWAY. FUNERAL TOMMORROW. DEEP SYMPATHY. Which leaves the matter doubtful; it could have been yesterday.’”*
“Hey, that’s not half bad. How about I take a look at what you’ve got there. I’m an editor. In the States,” he added.
I stood up and appraised his visage. He was morbidly obese, but then, so many Americans were these days. His pudgy face was flushed from the heat and half covered by a rustic set of muttonchop sideburns. Crusty bits of unknown origin stained his shirtfront. There was little to recommend him save for the intelligent set of his brow and the gleam of his shockingly blue eyes. But no, I thought, gripping the butt of the revolver in my pocket. I pulled forth the gun and fired a single shot, followed by four more, thinking as I did so that I didn’t need or want an editor. What I needed was an agent.
*quoted from "The Stranger" by Albert Camus