The Northville Review
an online literary journal
The Mountains of Instead

Edward Mullany

After the exit interview, and after he’d left the building, Niall saw the woman who’d interviewed him. He was carrying an unwieldy cardboard box full of office things to his car in the far reaches of the parking garage, and she was in the passenger seat of a car that sped past him on its way out. She didn’t see him. The driver saw him but didn’t take much notice of him. The driver and Niall were both men, and Niall was obviously an employee who’d gotten fired or who’d quit, while the man, like the woman (with whom the man was going for a drink), was a supervisor.

Niall unlocked his trunk and placed the unwieldy cardboard box full of office things inside. He hadn’t been fired. He’d quit. He’d told the woman who’d interviewed him that he didn’t know for what. The woman hadn’t laughed or frowned. “Other,” she’d said, and had written something in a particular space on the form.

The woman who’d interviewed Niall, and the man with whom she was going for a drink, got slightly drunk. There was karaoke at the bar and they did it separately and together, the man loosening his tie once on a visit to the men’s room while checking the mirror to see if he looked like a man with a loosened tie. Niall didn’t go to the bar, but he passed it on his way home. His home was in an apartment complex whose interior walls were painted off-white. It was raining as he passed the bar and it was still raining when he got home. He waited in the car to take the box inside so the things poking out the top wouldn’t get wet.

About the author

Edward Mullany is an editor at matchbook and Anderbo. His writing has appeared in New Ohio Review, Wigleaf, Alaska Quarterly Review, and other journals.