The Entertainer

by R.T. Sehgal

The letter was first read silently, then judged entertaining enough to be read out loud. He called over a group to listen, beckoning them with guarantees of laughter, before starting in his most comically serious voice. Several times he stumbled, sometimes because of the difficulty in deciphering the small cursive letters which seemed slightly embarrassed by the wide-ruled paper, sometimes for no reason whatsoever. He was like an orator, a great speaker at a podium in front of the thousands who paid to see him, pausing at the most exemplary passages to allow for gasps and laughs. At the end he laid the note down and felt suddenly full of sadness. He wondered how the meaning would have changed if she had been successful.


R.T. Sehgal is a sometimes-writer who has written about national affairs for McSweeney's. Most of his work can be found in the charts of his patients.