Maye Tuong was part Chinese, had three brothers and one sister, all married and moved out, and she lived with her mother and father across the Saugus River, at the upper end where a small wooden bridge spanned the water. Her mother was the Chinese parent, not the father, Henry Tuong, who was, as far as I knew, an old Lynn boy from way back who brought his wife home from one of his wars as a Marine. Shanghai rang a bell but I was never sure of where. I did know some other things about Maye, fact or fiction as you’ll have it, which had settled into my mind because she was extremely shapely for one thing; and she never had a date, at least I never saw her with a fellow. One time in the past, I heard, she’d been embarrassed at the beach when someone spotted a patch of thick, black hair on her backside, just below her waistline. A small patch it was, but a patch out of place. A few tough and pointed wisecracks were tossed off at that time and Maye was never seen at the beach again, never seen in a bathing suit again. I was one of those who never saw Maye at the beach or in a bathing suit. I never saw that thick, black out-of-place patch either, but had thought about it, I’m willing to bet, on a daily occurrence, perhaps hourly if you’re aware of the routine. Maye, on this night when the story really began, was 28 years old, or thereabouts, having unsettled some of my recent and late night thoughts, the older woman kind that haunt and capture and beset the young mind; let me teach you a thing or two, young man, you naughty boy, you.
But First Another Erudite Introduction by That Noted Supernaturalist Miss Stoker-Belle
Ha! I’ve at last wrested control of the bold font header from Ms. Allison. In the past she has used the header as a platform to throw shade my way, which I’ve been forced to refute in the first hundred words or so in previous displays of my genius. In yet another stroke of brilliance on my part, I recently introduced both the disinfecting and misremembering properties of anise del toro to Ms. Allison. She’s been gazing out her office window for a number of hours now. The Great Authoress is temporarily beyond the grasp of reality, and incapable of doing more than creating mist on the small mirror I occasionally place under her nose, let alone able to sling further shade on the intricacies of my personality. Rest assured, she’s fine. “Comfortably numb,” as the song goes. Really. Thus I have never been better.
Are you over eighteen?
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. Gerard sips his coconut milk coffee, then places it back on the mint green saucer. At least that’s what I imagine him doing whilst he’s typing away to me on his phone. I picture him trying to hide what he’s doing from his wife and kids as they sit around the sofa together watching a family movie. I picture him feeling embarrassed and adrenalized all at the same time You just look young in your profile.
Leila has chosen a story by one of our hugely talented regulars. Ashlie Allen sends us unusual and intriguing pieces – this is what Leila had to say:
Before we start with the usual nonsense:
You may have noticed that since Friday the site is changing.
Nik (We wanted to blame someone specifically) is revamping and to be truthful we are not sure what will react with what, so there maybe some glitches here and there.
Please give us a couple of days for the systems and changes to settle down.
If there are any issues with any of the stories for any length of time, we will re-publish them at a later date.
If there is anything that remains a problem for any of you, please let us know and we will kick Nik on the shins.
After my wife died, I volunteered on a crisis line. “You must keep clear limits with callers,” said Marilyn the training coordinator. “Don’t under any circumstances interact with anyone in person.”
I didn’t tell her that my boundaries were non-existent. That’s why I lived mostly alone.
So I only noticed that the door to my tattoo shop had been kicked in after I put the key in the lock. I slid the key into the cylinder and twisted it, but the door didn’t move. Through the tunnel of a receding hangover, I saw that the frame had been cracked near the lock, but the door hadn’t quite been kicked open. I pulled away in surprise, the blood receding to the back of my head, and looked around. A shard of the door frame lay on the ground, cleanly broken away. The glass next to the lock was undamaged. It was too early for this shit.
Sadie puts a bottle of white wine in the fridge before she goes out for a long run. She figures that if the run doesn’t help purge her of the toxins from the day then maybe the wine will. And if that doesn’t work she always has that fifth of bourbon on the bookshelf that girl from work gave her for Secret Santa, red bow taped to the top, and a few oxy left over from her thumb surgery last summer stashed at the bottom of the clothes hamper. But she figures the run, or the wine, should do just fine.
It was Nelda’s virgin adventure in ordering from East, a website with ridiculously low prices on electronics. All the goods were from China and took weeks or months to arrive. Reviews of East noted that each order was a surprise package ranging in quality and value from outstanding to profoundly disappointing. The reports also stated that returns were not practical, and that technical help was nonexistent.
The slippery slipper slipped from my hands. The glass leaving its bloody traces; a path of dark red leading to absolutely nowhere. Straight into silent nothingness. How fitting! My vision blurred, my skin scarred and my life shattered into tiny pieces. Every time I tried to pick them up, to put them back together, they cut me again and I could hear the devil’s familiar laugh paralyzing my everything. My life rejecting me. Still, I was weirdly proud that I did this all to myself. All by myself. I didn’t need a Prince Charming to do the shattering. I was perfectly capable of ruining my own life.