The word short is on the cover for everyone to see and yet I find myself expecting these tales to be endless. I guess that says something about Julie Anne Peters and her character writing skills. One has to open oneself to them, but she makes them extremely easy to bond with. You are already way too invested and you have yet to start reading the second sentence.
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White long-sleeved shirts with cuffs and cuff links. Long, thick ties. Tweed jackets with suede or corduroy elbow patches. Man, these were distinctive for their day. I knotted the laces on my work shoes.
People stared. Behind my back they scathed me. What else was new? I worked for many years perfecting my persona. Today, I thought, it was my fresh attitude. I was authentic. Binding and packing. Wearing my P. Could everyone tell? I get it. He was doing his girl. I wish I had me a girl. You need a hit of Viagra? He shook his head. Not Valentino. Not Eva. Especially not Eva, the name my mother gave me. I opened the door and got out of the Hummer. I headed inside to work. Jerome, my shift mate, was a cool bro.
Meaty balls. Jerome high-fived me in greeting, then hitched his chin toward the front counter. A new girl was training up front with Broomhilda. She was hot. I strung on my apron and got busy with the dinner rush. A couple of hours later, Broomhilda cranked back to the kitchen to hassle us. She was a scary bitch. Her real name was Honey Bea, if you can even imagine. The names parents give their kids. Honey Bea. Something ambiguous. Honey Bea was on the eternal rag.
She barked orders at us like we were deaf dogs. Unload the dishwasher. Broomhilda tore his flesh with eye shrapnel. It can wait a few minutes. Kevin and I used to play a lot of Balderdash with Grams and Gramps. Before the cancer. Nevaeh, in particular, had glommed onto me. She heard my voice. Soon as I could, I was starting testosterone. The front door dinged and Honey Bea stormed out to assist the public.
Nevaeh stayed behind, staring at me. My mom was named that. I slapped him and he gave my hand a squeeze. Stepping forward toward Nevaeh, Jerome pressed the same palm to his chest.
Get it right. I extended my hand. She gazed at it for a long second, then shook it. More obliging than willing.
She let go fast. She had long, elegant fingers. Fake nails all manicured and lacquered. Just like that. I swallowed hard. Born girl, but changing over. One day, soon as I get the money for T.
For surgery to remove my breasts, maybe. You take this. Jerome snatched the order off the carousel. Exercising her authority over you, or determining if she can. I only touched her arm playfully, but she reeled back into the trash bins, making a racket. Geez, sorry. Not that way — like, human? I shrugged. One snarf and barf to go. Some people have no sense of humor. There was a queue of customers around eight-thirty, nine, then it died again.
Me and Jerome busied ourselves in the kitchen rapping about music and chicks and politics in the Middle East. His cousin was touring Baghdad. It was a brisk night. Bracing, Gramps would say. I had no idea who the Willoughbys were. My breath streamed out in a vapor trail. Blow out. Suck in. I fingered one out and stuck it in the side of my mouth. I counted cars in the lot.
Three to be exact. Not exceedingly busy at this late hour. Where was Kevin? I leaned against the smooth brick and squeezed my thighs together to ensure it was still with me. It was. I loved the sense of it. The sensuality. It made me f eel confident and complete. The door swung open and Nevaeh stepped out. I pushed off the wall. My hands came out of my pockets and I held them up. Her breath willowed up and dispersed in a mist. Her eyes swept the parking lot and she shivered.
My first instinct was to offer her my jacket, but wow. She was cold to me. Her boyfriend, probably.
Grl2grl : Short fictions.
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Grl2grl : short fictions