Robert Cohen at Lit Hub:
Someone must have been telling lies about Jared K., for one fine morning without having done anything wrong, or right for that matter—without having done anything save run a major metropolitan newspaper into the ground and kick thousands of poor people out of their apartments—he was put in charge of the nation’s pandemic response. This had never happened to K. before. Except for that time he was put in charge of the border wall. And opioids. And prison reform. And presidential pardons. And the Middle East peace process. “I’d better get someone in authority to help me,” K. said. But there was no one.
Now he stood near the podium in the briefing room. It was prime time. The camera was eyeing him with bland curiosity, as if it expected something significant from him, some comprehensive answer or consoling truth. But what? He recalled this feeling from his bar mitzvah, for which he’d worn more or less the same suit: this same atmosphere of suspended meaning, of people coming together to hear him read from the coiled scrolls of the Law, at once precise and obscure. Only what was the Law? It was so hard to read. Where were the vowels? Where was the rabbi his parents had paid to help him? When would his voice change, and a few lousy hair follicles appear on the backs of his hands?