Onlookers: Stories by Ann Beattie:
Monica had been an employee at a lamp store that sold and repaired new and antique fixtures. The owner, Sterling Schuler, had closed up shop shortly after she left. How that job could have been fun, Jonah couldn’t imagine. Sterling had made the bad decision—the images of blazing fires in California proved it—to leave Charlottesville for LA, where he hoped to restart his earlier (much earlier) career as a character actor. Jonah could understand that impulse, though at twenty-two he was too young to have anything that he might restart. To stay chuffed, Jonah tried to imagine himself an already famous playwright, one who wryly considered the strange actions of others, while wearing an assortment of fabulous scarves.