Controlled Conversations

Karol Lagodzki submitted to The Reedsy National Creative Writing Scholarship


Emilia’s life as a telephone operator in the 1982 Poland of martial law, secret police and shortages goes on quietly in a small lakeside town until she overhears a conversation. Antek, a Solidarity treasurer, seeks the town’s calm to protect the opposition’s money. The quiet is shattered by Roman, a secret police major, who wants the cash—for himself, not the motherland—and is happy to kill for it if that’s what it takes. With their desires and fears at odds, what each decides to do will determine who survives, who escapes the autocracy and who dies.


[ story will be available soon ]













About Karol

Mississippi University

Karol Lagodzki left Poland at twenty and has called the United States home for over two decades. His
non-writing careers have ranged from fixing stucco while dangling from roofs in Paris to sorting through
human cadaver heads in Jacksonville. His short stories have appeared in The Ryder Magazine, Streetlight Magazine and Tishman Review. He now lives in Indiana with his family and a large dog, and is a Creative Writing MFA candidate at Mississippi University for Women’s low-residency program. Find him at

His entry, Controlled Conversations, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Fall Semester prize: