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QUOZ: A NOVELETTE is a story of beginnings. The place is Zepher, a world of more than one world. It is home to Zack, but also to the zygo, a perilous and sometimes hungry beast who comes for him when he least expects it. Zack is a spy who never knows why he must do what he does. On one of his assignments, he meets Tracy, who is in a similar position, and together they make their way.

Previously published as ZYGO: A NOVEL by Pete O'Brien. Zygo: A Novel, © 2022 First Edition, was revised and the title changed to QUOZ: A NOVELETTE for the Second Edition. ZYGO: A NOVEL was published as an ebook and paperback on Mar. 12, 2022, at a List Price of $9.99 for ebook, and $15.00 for paperback. It had 126 Pages, 5.25x8. The Ebook ISBN was 9781951390228, and the Paperback ISBN 9781951390235.

Inside this book...


     The walls shake, as yet another round of pounding from an overhaul operation just before dawn (the ruckus of a jammer rattler jackhammer with the words "creative writing" appearing on its side in impossible-to-miss neon blue spray paint, a jammer rattler jackhammer bouncing in the hands of a doughty woman) vibrates the house, causing a majestic painting to fall off the wall, and in a way vaguely reminiscent of this zonkpopped sentence, it lands THUD!, upright and and doesn't fall over. It is the painting of Quoz the zygoneure such as you see on the cover of this book. I hung it a year ago this very day.

     "Did you hear that?" I call to my cat Mincy. "This is madness. When the Quoz painting falls, it is written that a quirky story tapestry shall be written. But more importantly the prophesy says that when the painting of the Quoz falls, the Quoz herself shall suddenly appear and eat you and me alive unless I am very clever. And then it is said, and we know this to be true, because it happened only last week in one of our alternate pasts, the Quoz will devour everyone else in the world, or as many as possible, before something or other spurs her back to her den (or someplace bingzap) to hibernate. Last week we lost half of the world's population before she fell asleep. So a great wave of denial has spread across the land like a highly contagious flu, and most won't even admit that the Quoz exists, let alone take precautions to evade her. I fear we had better keep a very low profile. And as for the happy ending and incredible dreamscape that comes at the end if all goes--"

     But before I can finish, the zygoneure crashes through the front door, and Mincy and I only just barely make it out the back door and onto the recumbent bike in time to make good our escape. I pedal madly over the grass and through the back gate with Mincy in the basket.


     In between other chancy escapes from the zygoneure, I look for a decent job. It's not easy when your starting point is scrubbing floors, painting walls, doing laundry, answering phones, drafting correspondence, attending staff meetings, opening offices, closing them, waiting for antiquated computers to do something, stocking shelves, cleaning up messes, moving furniture, ordering supplies, assembling furniture, handing off paperwork, completing forms, completing training, training others, sorting mail, making travel arrangements, attending conferences. One figures one will remain office assistant and odd jobs help for the rest of one's life. But if you catch a break, you may find the company director grooming you for greatness. It's a far shot, and if you don't work your tail off, you don't stand a chance, but that's how it is.

     Or maybe it's something else, such as a Tuesday when the jefe on U Street pulls out your resume from the pulp pile and taps it twice.

     "Call him," he says to his office assistant.

     The very next day I stand opposite Mr. Black, ready to do anything and everything.

     "Do you speak Portuguese?" he asks.

     "No. Yes. Via online translation tools."

     "Have you heard of Clarice Lispector? Do you type, run errands, lift twenty pounds, and wear a wig?"

     "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No wig." I gamble that he wants to hear more. "Clarice. Brazilian literary genius of massive intellect. Unusually crafted prose. Protagonist constantly reflects on things existentially and goes from one extreme to the other. Makes me squeamish when she talks sex."

     "THAT'S THE ONE!" booms the master. "You're hired. No one else had a clue who she was. Stick close to me and you will go far. Unless I get clobbered. In which case, you too are herstory, more or less. Or at the least you'll have to look for a new situation. You might not get another chance though. I understand it's hard landing a job these days."

     "Quite," I say, horrified to hear myself talk like a Brit on U Street, Zepher.

     I last half a day in the slot. When it becomes clear the jefe will only pile work on me until he crushes me flat, I say, "On second thought."

     He loses no time, but takes me by the collar, and throws me, with my help, out the door.

An excerpt from QUOZ: A NOVELETTE.

Copyright 2024 by Pete O'Brien. All Rights Reserved.

Product Details



Mar. 11, 2024

76 Pages

ISBN 9781951390334



Mar. 11, 2024

76 Pages, 5.25x8

ISBN 9781951390327

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