By Nathan Leslie
Hive mind—how do I tie my shoes? Hive mind—thank you for recommending Velcro, where is the best place to buy a bolt of it (and is that the right word for Velcro)? Hive mind—where is the fabric store and how do I get there? Hive mind—can anyone give me a ride to the fabric store? Hive mind—between 11:30 and 11:40 is best, but I’m flexible within that window. Hive mind—also, can you pick me up at the CVS? I need my meds. Hive mind—you know, the usual anti-anxiety stuff (and how does that affect my liver in the long run). Hive mind—what is anxiety? I’m still not sure exactly and do you have it? Hive mind—thank you for validating me; that is a huge help. Have you considered a career in therapy (you would be excellent)? Hive mind—I say this without judgement; your current career/lack of career is equally compelling? Hive mind—is “compelling” overly patronizing? Hive mind—and if so am I overly patronizing and if so can you still give me a ride to get that Velcro? Hive mind—I love you, I want you, I need you.
Nathan Leslie won the 2019 Washington Writers’ Publishing House prize for fiction for his satirical collection of short stories, Hurry Up and Relax. Nathan’s nine previous books of fiction include Three Men, Root and Shoot, Sibs, and The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice. Nathan is currently the series editor for Best Small Fictions, the founder and organizer of the Reston Reading Series in Reston, Virginia, and the publisher and editor of Maryland Literary Review. His fiction has been published in hundreds of literary magazines such as Shenandoah, North American Review, Boulevard, Hotel Amerika, and Cimarron Review. Nathan lives in Northern Virginia.