The Invisibles
University of Georgia Press
Hugh Sheehy
“The Invisibles”

“The Invisibles” is from Hugh Sheehy’s Flannery O’Connor Award–winning debut story collection of the same title.  Sheehy’s fiction has appeared in CrazyhorseGlimmer TrainThe Kenyon ReviewThe Antioch Review, and other journalsHe teaches at Yeshiva College.


Sheehy said this about his story: I wrote “The Invisibles” the summer after I finished graduate school. I was living in Augusta, Georgia, where my fiancee was completing a project for the European chemical company she worked for.  When my search for a temporary teaching gig resulted in offers to teach as an adjunct that coming fall, we agreed I’d spend those few months writing and looking for work in Atlanta.


We were staying in a gated community beside the interstate. Our neighbors were a mixture of itinerant businesspeople, soldiers, and college students; one student drove a van with Alaska plates and appeared to live alone. The atmosphere of the place bred a general distrust of strangers, and many days I spoke to no one from when I woke until my fiancee returned at night.


Augusta has a towpath stretching nine miles from the Savannah River dam to downtown. Fishermen in yellow waders stand above the floodgates reeling in enormous striped bass. Most mornings I would take our dog there for exercise and thinking about what I would write later; other days we went in the afternoon when I was done working. There was a snakebird that always fished in the same spot; there were a lot of water moccasins lying very still in the shade and sun; there were other people, but very few I saw regularly. One day while running I remembered a skating rink in Toledo, how I used to skate there to rock songs with strange lyrics (“Black Velvet” comes to mind) and feel breathless with excitement about my future. After that, the story parts all sort of fell into place in my mind. I went back to my temporary home and got to work.

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