Your mother sees snakes. You have never finished Indiana Jones. You hold onto her left hand, and she asks if “Ramon” will come kill them. Fuck it. Yes, Bonny. Ramon will come. You invite Ramon into the house for a glass of your mother’s iced tea. You have a tea party with Toys R Us dishes and fortune cookies. Your mother’s hair is giant and nineties-curly. Ramon asks for corn tea. You are wearing your giant turquoise square glasses and proudly pour him a cup, ingredients unknown. He is broad-shouldered and shirtless and kind. He is ageless as you crawl onto his lap, cry into his chest. So are you. [Read more…] about Ramon the Mongoose
At seventeen, no men had shown interest in me before, except for Mr. Carol at the semi-formal dance, but he doesn’t count because he was married and felt bad for me. Because I was sitting by myself, he said, and I was such a smart girl, and high school boys are so shallow.
Why do I have to watch out for the policeman again? It’s not fair. I’ve got to take care of Sissy. I’m hungry. She said she wouldn’t be long, but she said that last time, and she was gone for a long time. The policeman is scary. He’s got a big black gun. People are killed with it, she said, if they’re bad.
The window is dirty. I can see a little cat! It’s skinny. All the cats in the street are skinny. My head hurts. I’m hungry. I want to play outside, but the policeman might take Sissy, maybe kill her with his gun. Or kill our mom. Maybe, too, the ugly stinky man upstairs. Don’t like that man. He stinks like dog poop. Why did they take beer upstairs? The brown bottles, they stink too. All the men are stinky. Why does she want those men for drinking beer?
A speck of dust landed in my nostril, waking me up in a fit of sneezing and coughing. I was slumped against the wall. I hadn’t meant to fall asleep, and the muscles in my back protested my awkward position as I braced myself on the windowsill and stood up.
I pulled back the curtain a few inches, trying to gauge how long I’d been asleep. Outside, only a faded streetlights stayed awake.
I let the curtain fall back as I looked around the detritus of the room, the debris of my search, and took a deep breath.
Boxes and boxes and boxes scattered, some fallen, their contents bursting forth. I grabbed the closest one, and ripped at the tape.
Harvey pulled hard from his drink. “Would you just leave me alone?” He fluffed the pillow, wanting to lay back on the couch, but his wife gave him that look, making his chest itch from the inside. He stood. “What is it you want me to do?” he asked, pushing the strands of gray hair away from his face.
Suzy popped out of her chair and paced, picking around the edges of her fingernails. “Oh, I don’t know.” Her voice warbled.
“I told you already—”
She honked the goofy bicycle horn she’d taken from the suitcase on the floor, flooding him with memories. Damn her for punching below the belt; she would know how that horn made him feel.
“I see you trying not to smile. Now finish getting dressed. Little Jimmy’s party starts in an hour.”
Harvey shook his head, again somber. “I don’t know. It’s all too awkward.”
“Because he’s Judge Parkinson’s son?” She placed the red ball nose on her face, also from the suitcase. Her mossy eyes shimmered.
“Give me that.” He yanked it off her; it squeaked like a dog’s toy. They both chuckled, then he crossed his arms over his barrel chest and frowned.
“C’mon Harvey. What’s going on here?”
After he fled the house, he shivered in the cold but the sky was clear, and he made good early progress. Wind and sunshine had helped formed a hard crust over the snow and made walking relatively easy, even though his body nevertheless ached and throbbed with every step. But the breeze soon picked up, nipping at his face, and the sky clouded over, signaling the approaching storm.
The beating Brian suffered earlier in the day had been particularly savage, even by his father’s brutal standards. Fueled by alcohol, frustration and rage, his cruelty was more unrestrained than usual. Blows from the leather strap left a latticework of ragged red stripes on the youngster’s back, buttocks, and upper legs. Despite his fury, the man was careful not to hit the boy on the face and head to ensure no telltale evidence to raise suspicions in nosey neighbors and self-righteous teachers. Under different circumstances, his mother would have intervened. However, she was toiling at her job, the family’s only source of income.
Lillian always knew that we lived among aliens, but she learned to stop bringing it up, especially around adults. Her sister, Jamie, would sometime go along with it, prompting Lillian with more questions and adding onto the stories. Lillian would always nod along when Jamie starting adding, even though most of her contributions were utter nonsense. The lizard that lived in the garden bed under their mom’s window was not running messages for their cat. That would imply that there were only two categories of aliens: humans and nonhumans. And Lillian knew the truth was vastly more intricate. [Read more…] about Last Day of Summer
Why did I just spend $22,562 on a softly glowing and not-so-quietly humming three-foot-tall robot that looks like it should be a mascot for a cellular phone company?
Because I smell like fish. All day, every day. And not just fish. I smell like rotting fish.
It’s not because of my job. I’m not a dock worker or crewing an Alaska fish schooner. I’m an at-home programmer. Probably the only career a guy like me can actually do and make livable money.
It’s not because of my hygiene. Or my diet. Or my weight. Not like those haven’t been suggested by everyone I’ve ever met.
It’s genetic. The technical term is Trimethylaminuria. It’s a lot easier just to say “fish odor syndrome.” I can’t metabolize anything that contains nitrogen, sulfur, or phosphorous. Ya, great combination. If those are in my food, they’re coming out my sweat glands.
There, on the side of the road was a lost shoe: an elegant, black high heel, standing out on the sidewalk of the quaint, residential neighborhood like spilled ink on the gold trim of a storybook. And there, walking towards it, was a beautiful 20-year-old girl with hair as light as the sun and skin as smooth as porcelain.
Well, her hair actually looked a bit messy and a little tangled at the ends…And there was a smudge of black underneath her eyes as her mascara melted into dried tears…Still, even as she was now, in last night’s dress, barefoot with one shoe in her hand and the other on the pavement, she was a beauty fit for a prince.
But Prince Charming wouldn’t come to retrieve her shoe. Forget sending an entire kingdom to find her—he wouldn’t even send a fucking text.
Reiding’s B minor Concerto floats up the stairs of métro Boissière. It greets me daily as I descend to catch my train to school—my school-run concerto.
“Maman, encore,” the four year old whispers, tugging my hand.
She hums along. It’s a familiar tune; Raffaella has heard Sophie practice it many times.
I watch as the violinist plays Reiding with eyes closed. His fingers move deftly on its neck, they see the exact places to press, sounding the right notes. His bow hand is fluid, long, smooth movements followed by short, sharp strokes. The violin sings. Reiding is played each morning at exactly 8:15. Why doesn’t he play at concert halls? He is superbe. Talented. The instrument emanates passion. I’ll muster enough courage to speak to him soon.