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Victor, by Ainsley Atwood

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

This piece is part of our “Tails + Tales” teen summer writing initiative inspired by the 2021 national summer reading theme chosen annually by the Collaborative Summer Library Program.

The story goes

They paid Victor

By the word.

Why else would he use

Every word possible

The longest phrases imaginable

To describe a Paris

That no longer exists?

But they didn’t pay Victor by the word.

No economically responsible publisher

Would ever



Pay Victor by the word.

The story goes

Victor killed a man

With his writing.

The longest sentence in French

To describe a popular king

Who already existed

Caused a man to die

Of asphyxiation.

But this tale is purely apocryphal.

No literate human being

Would ever



Read a sentence about Louis-Phillipe out loud.

The story goes

Every woman in Paris

Who enabled every bad habit you had

Were unavailable the day Victor finally died.

They were in mourning

For the loss

Of Victor’s business.

This story is true

But it’s hard to believe

Anyone would miss

The man who killed someone

With his writing.


Ainsley Atwood is a writer from Chicago who likes books about heists, historical fashion, and the stories of long-dead authors. When Ainsley is not writing, she enjoys reading, enjoying musical theatre from backstage, and spending time with friends.


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