This is a story I wrote for two reasons: I wanted to submit something to an anthology of stories set in New England, and I wanted to add a story whose title began with the letter U to my nearly-complete alphabet of short fiction.
In its original version, the narrator identifies herself as having been an Icahn Scholar at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. Why? Simple: because my daughter Becca was in fact an Icahn Scholar at Choate, and I thought she'd be pleased by the reference. I didn't show her the story until after I'd already submitted it to the New England book, though, and she was horrified by the reference, since the narrator turns out at the end of the story not to be a very nice person. (What was I thinking?) So I prayed the story would be rejected and -- for probably the only time in more than half a century of writing fiction for publication -- was relieved when it was in fact rejected.
I revised it, changing Choate to the fictitious "Bellman Patterson Hall" in Durham (CT) and the Icahn Scholars program to the fictitious "Robertson Scholars" program, and submitted this less horrifying version to a Mystery Writers of America anthology, which also declined to take it, and then to Kerry Carter at Mystery Weekly. Kerry accepted it, though by the time it came out in the November 2021 issue, Mystery Weekly, which has always been a monthly and never a weekly, had been renamed, simply, Mystery Magazine.
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