Coming Together: By Hand is now available!
This farrago of self-love stories, edited by the magnificent Alessia Brio, includes my fiction piece, "Quite Contrary."
Here's what you're getting yourself into:
Check.She never understood how truncated wax could generate a romantic ambiance. And she is quite certain that her beige voile curtains, a wedding present from her mother-in-law, are not flame retardant.
She cannot possibly expect to concentrate with the husky voice of a husky male crooning about desire and devotion. She will feel as though someone is in the bedroom with her, supervising, scrutinizing, salivating.
She crosses to the table displaying her china doll collection. Carefully, she rotates the stands, ensuring that the dolls' line of vision is obstructed by the paisley print pattern adorning the walls.
To further safeguard against voyeurs, she jiggles the doorknob to make sure it's locked. Though she has the house to herself, another resident could return at a moment's notice and neglect to announce his arrival.
Her eyes survey the room, pausing to inspect Chester, the hibiscus plant suspended near the window. Mentally reviewing her morning agenda, she recalls that at 9:05, shortly after breakfast, she tended to her companion. This comforts her, for she cannot have a dehydrated plant hanging over her head.
Satisfied that everything is in order, she approaches the bed, folds down the coverlet, and lowers herself onto the sheets, crisply ironed and boasting hospital corners.
She glances at the alarm clock. 10:10. She has several hours before she must begin getting ready for her surprise party, where she will be forced to smile and feign appreciation for a blouse she will want to exchange and a gift certificate for a beauty treatment she did not even know she needed.
In the interim, she will have a private party.
She has spent months pondering the commemoration of the five decades she has coexisted, however discordantly, with the rest of the human race.
And there is only one gift that will suffice.
She has a surfeit of degrees, framed and fastened to the walls of her office. She has an abundance of accolades, conferred upon her by colleagues who both envy and extol her novel analyses of English literature. She has a doting daughter, who is attending a nearby university and following in her mother's footsteps. She has a husband, too, but their relationship, while amicable, has been tempered by routine and familiarity, and he is more often her buddy than her lover. And, of course, she has Chester.
But what she doesn't have, what she's never had, is an orgasm.You're invited.
Go on, partake in our protagonist's private party.
And then, go f*** yourself.
Curiouser and curiouser,