My irretrievably lost lover was found frozen in a blazing coal burner. He had been stabbed to death with a bladeless knife that was missing its handle, but that’s not what killed him. The coroner’s report was erased before it was written; it found the death suspicious, being due to natural causes. We suspect Nobody who was his fiercest rival in the contest for least competitive man in the world. Nobody works as an astronomer in an underground observatory; he was last seen skating in the pitch dark on the Indian Ocean. Although he is everywhere readily available, he cannot be found. A worthless reward is offered for information leading to his arrest, provided he stays at large. The public are cautioned against approaching him as he is neither armed nor dangerous. While a resolution is unlikely, the case is now closed.
Tony Eprile’s novel, The Persistence of Memory, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Koret Jewish Book prize. His stories have appeared in Short Fiction International, Ploughshares, Agni, Story Quarterly, GlimmerTrain, Post Road, and elsewhere. He teaches fiction in Lesley University’s low-residency graduate program.