"Dr. Paffenroth? Kim Paffenroth?"
"Follow me please."
The administrative assistant led Paffenroth into a large office with no walls. A large scaffold stood on one side of the room, stretching up to a breath-taking ceiling high above him. The ceiling was filled with paintings of ecclesiastical wonder illustrated in colors that would shame a rainbow.
Sitting behind the desk was a clean-shaven, white-haired man, flipping through the pages of, Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead. He closed the book and put it down on his desk, then folded his hands on top of it. He smiled at Paffenroth. "Hi, Kim. Please have a seat."
Paffenroth sunk into one of the stuffed leather chairs. "My word," he said.
"Yes, I know," said the man behind the desk. "Heavenly, aren't they? I've ordered a set of ottomans to go with them, but I'm afraid I may have guests falling asleep the minute they sit down," he chuckled. "Kim—or would you rather I called you Dr. Paffenroth?"
Paffenroth waved his hand.
"Kim, we need to talk about this novel of yours. I'm not sure if—"
He was interrupted by singing. It drifted down from the top of the scaffold. "Hey, Michaelangelo!" he called. "Why don't you take a lunch break? I've got to talk with my guest in private."
A head peered out from the scaffold. "Bene." To Paffenroth's surprise, the individual stepped off the scaffold. Two large white wings unfolded as the man fell and they began flapping the air, quickly stopping his descent. He flew off into the distance still singing.
"Now Kim," said the man behind the desk, picking up where he left off, "I love the book. It has all the right beats, and builds on each beat, making you really care about the people surrounded by that universe in chaos. Sort of reminds me of those first seven days, you know. I just don't know if people are ready, though, for a thought-provoking religious approach to zombie horror. I mean—"
He noticed that Paffenroth's attention was focused on the desk. "Like it?"
Paffenroth nodded. "It's unbelievable. Does it ever end?" he asked, looking off to the horizon, first left, then right.
"Da Vinci did it," said the man behind the desk. "Looked great on paper. Hell, everything he draws looks great on paper. But the downside is it takes an eternity to find anything in its drawers."