Miss Otis Regrets
“Will Nelly be able to remember the precise message? Miss Otis anxiously fiddles with her lace collar. To express oneself properly is of the utmost importance, even through a servant. It has been a tantalizing trial to find the right words, an almost artistic research to compose the sentences. Since last evening, Miss Otis has lived in a nightmarish worry-go-round that has prevented her from sleeping. At last, with the new day showing up at the horizon, she has worked out the acceptable formula. Thus, it will not do if Nelly mixes up the precise wording; it will absolutely not do if Nelly says something else instead, or if Nelly forgets and (God forbid!) improvises. The words have been thoroughly weighed and finally approved. So, will Nelly remember them? Miss Otis has to be sure of that.”
Thus begins the short story “Miss Otis regrets (she’s unable to lunch today)”, which relates the probably most important hour in Miss Otis’ otherwise calm and rather eventless life. Her posh 19th-century-existence, hitherto similar to the lukewarm breeze sweeping over the caribbean island she’s been living on all through her life, will be changed forever by a whimsical decision of hers. But did she have a choice to act in any other fashion? Or wasn’t she somehow predestined to do what she’s about to do?
This and other contemporary short stories (including “Cheat”, the story of a young Paris yuppie meeting his destiny) by young writer Dieter Moitzi can be found in this volume.
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