‘Intern’ (‘Inside’) by Bertram Coleman

Suggested by Rob van Essen, because it seemed like a good idea to ask leading Dutch writers of short fiction to name authors whose work they admire or enjoy.

A grief-fuelled rant, full of violent fantasies, that sprawls into a comprehensive list of the kinds of people who anger and annoy the narrator, whose senses have been laid bare, following the sudden death of his beloved.I went back to work the day after the funeral. My colleague came up to me and placed his hand on my arm. The expression on his face said he shared my grief, but also that it was a good idea to get on with my life. He told me it had probably been a good way for Tessa to die. When I asked him what he meant, he said she hadn’t suffered and that was the main thing. So I asked him who the fuck he thought he was, deciding what the main thing was for my wife. Whether he had some sort of unique insight into her dying brain, allowing him to peek in and see which cause of death she preferred. A heart attack, out in the street, at the age of thirty. Excellent. Where do I sign up? Sounds fantastic. I told him that, in terms of his analogy, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he dropped dead tomorrow. He gave me a strange look, as if I’d threatened him. Then he raised his hands and said he meant well. I told him to go to hell, and to keep a close eye on the paving as he went in.
That’s not really what happened.

Published in De Gids, 2015, No. 6. Full story in Dutch online here