e c l e c t i c a f i c t i o n
(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole story!)
Genes (Spotlight Runner Up!)
When my sister Uma arrived, she cried non-stop at first, spitting out her teething rings in disgust, but she soon broke out of the cage of infancy and grew into a capable playmate. She was rebellious, given to pouting and answering back, and also dreamy, flighty, intuitive, and fond of experimentation. She spurned dolls and cooking sets in favor of roller skates, silly putty, whoopee cushions, false teeth, and fake fingers.
I may not be destined for a bright future, but I had a good side view of Guy #1 from my perch six stools away and made him immediately—backwards sunglasses, Converse, L train rider, computer techie/musician. Your basic hipster. It took a while trying to grab her attention away from her friends, but he was tenacious. I saw Geneva's face go from annoyed to cool to interested, the layers peeling away.
His mom said nothing. On the picture wall was a photograph of Dad and Spike, in the Army many years ago, the two of them grinning in T-shirts. They looked ready to hug one another one-armed, but then you saw that each of them held a cigarette and wanted to burn the other guy's shoulder. It was a funny picture. Even his mom thought so.
As ninth grade began, I had upgraded my cosmetic arsenal and had a solid understanding of the different shades and hues of bases, primers, concealers, and foundations. I had certain shades for different seasons and even various types of makeup for rainy days.
You rarely command my mother to do anything for you. That's your mother's job. Yet it is in that lilt of your voice, it is in that flawless invocation of my mother's name, that I know my mother is a maid. And nothing else.
"I knew you could do it," she says, her hand on my arm again. I swear I feel her bare foot graze mine under the small pond of water. "I can't imagine what woman would be foolish to search beyond you. As far as I can tell, you're the perfect man."
"On the hottest day of summer, three persons entered the pine woods at the center of the island. But later that afternoon, when it had all happened and was finished, only two of them came out."