He sits at the back of the cafe, reading his recent short story aloud to a group of interesting and talented writers. He’s worked for months on this story and feels sort of proud. They hate it, he thinks. He reads a particularly humorous line. The group laughs. That joke wasn’t funny. That was a pity laugh. He dreads hearing their feedback. He finishes and receives positive comments with constructive criticism. Are they just being nice? Later that night, he lies awake in bed. I bet that’s it. They lied. They should’ve been honest with me. I could’ve handled it.