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Long-Chain Monomers

A story by William O’Neil

The only thing Theresa hates more than “networking” at conferences is the persistent plastic smell the furniture always has. At least there’s free food here.

“Long-chain Monomers,” says a young guy in an internet t-shirt, by way of greeting.

“The smell?” she asks, disinterested.


“The smell in the room.” She looks for exits, but she’s flanked by people on either side drawn by the promise of snacks.

“Sorry?” he says, confused. “No, I have a cold. Why, is it bad?”

“But then what did you–”

“Oh,” says Long-chain, sheepishly. “Well. My parents were really big Gibson fans.”