The other interns found him in the supply closet, hunched next to the old fax machine no one uses anymore.
His lower lip was quivering. White wads of spent tissue dotted the room, having calved away from him like tiny icebergs. His breath came in uneven gasps.
And in his right hand, Zach, the silly intern, was clutching the office copy of Say Nothing.
"Zach, there you are," said Sarah, the smart intern. "We've been looking all over for you. Where have you—?"
Zach looked up at her with red-rimmed eyes. He had just a few pages to go.
"Have you been crying?" Sarah asked.
"No," Zach said, his voice cracking. "I just... I have this allergy to No. 2 pencils... and... and a rare genetic condition called Weeping Willow Syndrome that causes ocular leakage... and then... and then an asteroid flew in my eye and wedged under my contact lens."
"But Zach," chided Maggie, the clueless intern, "you don't wear contact lenses."
Peter, the slothful intern, cocked his head toward her. "Pencil allergies, made up diseases, and asteroids... Yeah, call him out on the contact lenses."
Sarah ignored them, as usual. "Zach. It's 2017. The notion that men shouldn't cry is rooted in antiquated conceptions of masculinity. It's not only destructive to men's mental health, it hampers their functioning in a modern society where the ability to express emotion and empathize with others have become essential skills."
"Besides, dude," Peter said. "Have you been reading the reviews? Everyone is crying at the end of this book."
It's true. The reviews for Say Nothing have been pouring in, and if there's been one theme, it's been that critics' tear ducts have been getting a workout.
The reviewer from The Washington Post cried: "The novel's final pages are exciting, surprising and deeply moving. How moving? Its ending brought me to tears, and, where books are concerned, such moments are rare."
The reviewer from The (Newark) Star-Ledger cried: "Some books, especially stories about children acting nobly, make me mist up. But real tears, enough to require dabbing eyes? That does not happen. Yet as I finished the former Star-Ledger reporter's latest book, I was crying... Brad Parks has been very good for a long while now... Say Nothing takes Parks to a new level."
Even this guy on Amazon cried:
But that's not all. In addition to the emotional disruption it has been causing, Say Nothing might be responsible for reduced productivity overseas:
"The old cliche of page-turner is dead right here," reported the UK tabloid, The Daily Mail. "This twisted tale is written with such power and intelligence that you have no option other than to read it under your desk at work."
Closer to home, it has even resulted in at least one fishing-based metaphor:
"We are only 60 pages in," wrote The Florida Times-Union. "Our fingernails are bitten to the quick. Our stomach is in knots. Author Brad Parks has us as hooked as a marlin on 130-pound test."
In addition to these raves, The Times of London named Say Nothing its Thriller of the Month.
With the book quite literally awash in critical praise, the interns urge you to rush out to a bookstore and grab your copy.
Just make sure you stop at a drugstore on the way home.
The Kleenex are in Aisle 3.
The BradParksBooks.com Interns
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