Posts Tagged: fiction

A New Story on WhiskeyPaper!

I’m super excited to have a story, At the Roller Rink, on WhiskeyPaper today. Maybe I should be more chill about this, and say something like, “I am so humbled to have this site publish my story,” but actually I’m pretty stoked. I think Leesa Cross-Smith is the coolest and I loved her short story collection Every Kiss a War, so it’s really an honor to be on WP.

I’m sort of obsessed with the friendships of young girls at that age right before they start to be interested in boys, when they’re so close and intense that they’re almost romantic. And I’m even more obsessed with the point at which those friendships start to break down, which is when boys and sex enter the picture. There’s always one girl who crosses that line sooner, and that moment of outgrowing a friendship is like squirming in an itchy, embarrassing sweater. And then there’s the other girl, the one who’s holding on a little tighter, who doesn’t understand why things are even changing.

And also there’s rollerskating involved. An an REO Speedwagon song. I’ll love you forever if you read it!

Instead of Working on Things Actually Have a Deadline, I Wrote This Story About Lenny Kravitz

“Damn it,” said Lenny Kravitz. He’d spilled coconut milk on himself. Again.

That was what he got for eating cereal in bed. He knew it always led to disaster, but what could he do? It was a routine comfort. It reminded him of being a young Lenny Kravitz, sitting in a much smaller bed wearing a much smaller tunic and eating cereal with real milk. Lenny Kravitz was lactose intolerant now and had to drink coconut milk. He knew there were other milk alternatives, but he didn’t trust the phytoestrogens in soy milk and he didn’t like the taste of almond milk. He’d just seen that Almond Breeze was coming out with a almond/coconut milk blend. This intrigued Lenny Kravitz. He planned to try it.

Lenny Kravitz padded barefoot into the kitchen to find a paper towel. Carefully, he dabbed at his terry cloth sleep tunic. Terry cloth was a comfortable fabric, but goddamn if it didn’t absorb coconut milk. He’d learned this lesson many a time.

Lenny Kravitz sighed and thought about what was on his agenda for the day. Dr. Oz, sure, but that didn’t come on until 3. He thought about getting a 4th nose piercing put in, but decided against it. Lenny Kravitz walked back to the bedroom and stepped inside his walk-in tunic closet; he’d let the tunic decide the mood of the day.

Paisley. Chambray. Glitter. Name a tunic, Lenny Kravitz had it. He’d been collecting tunics for his entire lifetime, and it showed.

He ran his hand over them, and the hangers swayed back and forth. He seized upon a white linen tunic. Perfect for the warm weather. He pulled off the damp terrycloth tunic and slid into the linen tunic. Lenny Kravitz stared at himself in his full length mirror.

“Lenny Kravitz is ready for summer,” he whispered out loud to no one. He stared at himself and admired how the tunic looked over his impressively toned body. Lenny Kravitz didn’t work out. He’d just popped out of the womb looking like this.

After awhile, Lenny Kravitz emerged from the closet. It was dark. He glanced at the clock; 10 p.m. He’d stared at himself in a white linen tunic all day.

Lenny Kravitz crawled into bed, put on a sleep mask, and fell asleep immediately. He’d start all over again tomorrow. Maybe he’d get that 4th nose piercing after all.

My New Boyfriend

My new boyfriend works in a coffee shop. I’d tell you which one, but you’d find him and try to steal him from me. Girls do this all the time. I used to sit in the coffee shop facing the counter and watch them flirt with him. Sometimes I would walk up there and say, “This is my boyfriend! He doesn’t want to talk to you!” They’d say they were just ordering a latte, but I could see the truth in their eyes.

My new boyfriend is nice. He always apologized and said, “I’m not her boyfriend.” I know he has to do this for business purposes; he needs to be seen as available so they’ll keep buying drinks from him. His sexual attractiveness is an important part of his coffee selling strategy. I understand. My new boyfriend has a mind for business.

My new boyfriend is funny. He does this bit where he says, “You’re not my girlfriend.” He did this last weekend when I tried to talk to him at the register. “We’re not dating, I don’t even know you, and you’re scaring me,” he said. It was so funny. “Ha! Ha! Ha!” I screamed at him. Everyone in the coffee shop was staring. They were so jealous of our love. I laughed so hard I was crying. My boyfriend and I have such a good time together.

My new boyfriend has a playful side. One time I went to the coffee shop during his shift and he wasn’t at the register. So I ran behind the counter and opened the storage closet and there he was! “I found you!” I shouted and he pretended like he was scared. If I didn’t know we were in love, I would’ve thought he was afraid of me. Of me!

My new boyfriend and I haven’t talked for a week, because the police say I can’t go into the coffee shop anymore. That’s okay. In every great love story, there’s always someone trying to keep the lovers apart. Now I sit on the bench across the street and watch him through the window. When he sees me, he leans over to talk to another barista. He points at me and I know he’s saying, “There she is. The love of my life. The law keeps us apart, but one day we’ll be together.”

I’m not really supposed to be here, on this bench, either, so when the police drive by I hide. Once I ran behind the coffee shop and jumped in the dumpster. A half-empty bottle of caramel syrup leaked on me and coffee grounds stained my skirt. I’m not going to wash these clothes or take them off, ever. Now they smell like our love. Like coffee and sugar and garbage.