A story by Eric Rampson (fiction, ’16) appears in Typishly:

 

The Ornamental Hermit

Editor’s background note for the uninitiated: Wikipedia tells us that “ornamental hermits were hermits encouraged to live in purpose built hermitages, follies, grottoes, or rockeries on the estates of wealthy land-owners, primarily during the 18th century. Such hermits would be encouraged to dress like druids and remain permanently on-site, where they could be fed, cared-for and consulted for advice or viewed for entertainment.”

To: The Ornamental Hermit

Re: Termination

Elliott,

I hope this email finds you well. Diane and I are very much enjoying Tahiti—there is a pool directly outside the front door of our cabin while the beautiful sliding doors at the back open onto a flat wooden deck suspended over pale blue crystalline water warm as syrup and deep enough to dive into.

Your emotional state, I must admit, is less of a hope and more the reason I’m writing to you, sitting on that same flat deck, the waves lapping gently below me while Diane (who has agreed to wear high-heels with her bikini, at least around the cabin) suns herself in front of me, on her stomach, feet in the air behind her, ankles crossed. She is still so very lovely. And the high-heels? I don’t need to explain their effect, do I?

And that’s the problem. There was a time, back when we hired you, when you first moved into the grotto and the moss coloring the stones of your hut was still that fake, painted-on stuff, back then I would most certainly have had to explain the effect of a high-heel shoe not just on the leg of a beautiful woman but on the heart, mind, and baser instincts of the modern man. But it seems now that you understand perfectly what I mean.

Well maybe not a high-heel, specifically, but, you know, about the sexual, romantic power of the fairer sex.

… continue reading here.

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