Instead of the first lines of a classic, here is the start of a story in Ben Greenman‘s collection, which came out in April from MacAdam/Cage, “A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories about Human Love.” The story is How Little We Know About Cast Polymers, and About Life.

“On the day that the Hospice Pathetic died, I was reading about genetically modified linseed plants. Created by scientists in a laboratory environment, the plants accumulated high levels of very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in seed. This was good news, you see, because prior to the appearance of these engineered oils, the most reliable source for very long chain polyunsaturated fats was fish, and wild and farmed fisheries were straining to meet increased global demand. Now, with the help of science, we could get the oils from linseed plants. It was a miracle, or so the scientists in the article said. To be honest, I didn’t really care. I was reading about the oils only because it was the lead article in the in-flight magazine. I would rather have read about the Hospice Pathetic. Matters of life and death interested me greatly.”