998 Slices
Medium 9780253223432

Chapter 15

Jim Cohee Indiana University Press ePub

Chapter 15

I ran the path around the swing set in the side yard. Tortured waves crested and broke above me, and the raft jerked, skidded, plunged headlong downward into the pocked and weltering sea. Wind thrummed the shrouds and the guy wires and tore at my shirt. The radio crackled and whistled, then fell silent. Its antenna sprang free of the mast and flew out like a pennant. The sky snapped into darkness. The sea boiled. Constellations spun.

I lashed the loose cargo down. Margery, under deep hypnosis—for I had to know her past lives—Margery groaned in the bamboo cabin. She called out, “I am Pharaoh Hatshepsut!”

Foam blew off the wave tops on heaving seas. Charts flew out of the cabin like dumbstruck gulls. The fore logs rose clear of the swell, while cataracts crashed down on me at the steering oar astern. Brackish water ran off my hair in streams. My raiment was tattered.

Lightning struck and everything for a second was a horrifying strobe white. I saw that Margery’s bed had rolled out of the cabin and that one corner hung over the raft edge to starboard. The wind tore at her, and the white bedding billowed and snapped in the night air like a flag. “I will kohl my eyes,” shouted Margery, “and the world will sing!”

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Medium 9789810861131

The Birthday Treat by Brandy Russell

Goodwin, Temari & Hoye (Editors) Monsoon Books ePub
"The Birthday Treat" by Brandy Russell

A romance short story set in Singapore, first published in "Love and Lust in Singapore" (Monsoon Books, Singapore)

Hannah stepped out of the shower and padded into her bedroom. The overhead fan sent a chill down her back.She looked at herself in the mirror, naked and dripping. She was still small and fine-boned, but recently her angular features had softened. She smiled as she examined her rounder, softer body. Hannah’s best friend had teased her about getting fat, but she didn’t like the stick-thin, emaciated look that so many of her friends admired. It wasn’t just her hips and thighs. Recently her breasts had swollen. She admired their fullness. Her pale pink nipples had spread, and were now a shade darker, more eye-catching against her fair skin. Hannah cupped each creamy breast, slowly moving them up and down, enjoying the weight between her fingers. Hannah started to caress her breasts, tentatively at first. Her breathing quickened as she pressed more firmly, in a circular motion from the outside, moving in. A tiny whimper escaped from her lips … See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008381

Westward Expansion

B.J. Hollars Indiana University Press ePub

BLYTHEDALE, MISSOURI, 1999

Manifest Destiny, Dad explained, is something we should always keep in the forefront of our minds. “Because the only reason California even exists right now,” he chided, “is because our ancestors made it so.” He nodded when he said this, walking my sister and me over to the scotch-taped map on the wall to trace the route the Fowler family trod while doing their part for American expansion.

On Dad’s orders, Samantha and I would then shut ourselves in the computer room and play Oregon Trail in order to develop a better sense of our family heritage. Dad was adamant about our making use of this “learning aid,” often dropping by to check on our progress, see if we had yet reached Fort Hall or the outpost. Sam – a third grader at the time – didn’t yet know much of wagon trains, though this hardly discouraged her from arguing endlessly with me about how many axles and boxes of ammunition were required to survive the trek. Dad listened quietly from behind our computer chairs, though on occasion, the temptation to correct us proved too great. Once, when Sam and I decided to ford the river rather than take the ferry, our frustrated father informed us that fording a river was a “damn good way to come down with a bout of cholera.”

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Medium 9780253019073

Surfacing

Colin Rafferty Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

On the 25th of March, we took a miserable farewell of our distressed brethren, the heart of every one being so overloaded with his own misery as to have little room to pity another.

R. Thomas, “Preservation of Nine Men,”
Interesting and Authentic Narratives of the
Most Remarkable Shipwrecks
, 1835

On the eighth of November 1975, a storm forms in Oklahoma and begins moving northeast, picking up speed and intensity. The next day, it passes over Kansas City, over the older suburb of Mission, on the Kansas side of the state line, over a brown house on Nall Avenue where my parents, Tom and Kathie Rafferty, live. Maybe my mother, twenty-five years old and six months pregnant with her first child—me—looks up at the darkening sky and worries. Maybe she feels me moving inside her, pushing her abdomen outward, growing and moving each day. Maybe she stays inside the entire day, unaware of the system passing overhead, not knowing or even caring where it comes from or where it will go.

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Medium 9780253016881

Amanda Patch

Edited by Michael Martone and Bryan Furu Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Amanda Patch

It all started innocently enough when I petitioned the Most Reverend Leo, bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend, to initiate the beatification of Father Herman Heilmann, founder of the monastery, Our Lady of the Circumcision, here in Winesburg. Father Herman made a home for his brother fathers, who come from all over the country to this quiet cloistered retreat—a collection of cabins initially converted from the rundown Rail Splitter Motor Court off the old Lincoln Highway—to study and pray and meditate on that old Old Testament story of Abraham having to sacrifice his son Isaac to establish the covenant with the Lord. I just thought the Father’s work needed to be recognized, so in addition to my letter-writing campaign, I convinced my reading group to concentrate on one book for a year, deeply meditating on the martyrs, spending each meeting discussing a life of a saint we read in Butler’s Lives of the Saints. It was difficult, to say the least. The litanies of the deaths and the dying, the various methods of torture and the infliction of pain, seemed organized in such a way as to demonstrate the excruciating genius of Satan, working through his minions on earth, to exact utter and endless agony. My reading group, made up of several of the neighborhood’s ladies and ladies from the church, also met on Wednesdays each spring to follow the March Madness of the basketball tournament, suspending our usual stock club meetings to substitute the brackets for the fine print of the big board. We were, perhaps, predisposed to such communal excitement, some might even say hysteria. As we read and reported on the lives of the saints, our presentations became more elaborate, the distinction between the mere abstract recounting of the material and actually living the lives of the Lives of the Saints became confused for us, and very soon we became enamored by the very particular narratives of the sainted virgins. We were impressed with the passion of their passion to remain undeflowered, intact, innocent, and dedicated to Jesus to the point of taking Our Savior as a wedded yet chaste husband. There were (I remember, how could I forget) multiple incinerations at the stake, crucifixions, beheadings, stonings, rapes, and sodomies with a variety of implements and animals in an effort to pry from these devoted young women the most special jewel in their possession. It was all quite thrilling. We were moved. The antique prose of the text added a musty patina of gothic authenticity to the recitations of anguish, courage, and ecstatic exultation. All of us, by this time, were far from our own corporeal purity, having given birth to nearly four dozen children among us. Many of us now were grandmothers as well. We had long suffered both the pangs of birthing and the fandangos of sexual intercourse, procreative and not, at the hands of our husbands and, dare I say, lovers. I am not sure whose idea it was initially, as many of us have used the skilled services of Dr. Minnick for other plastic operative rearrangements, but we somehow reached a consensus that all of us would participate in a kind of tontine in reverse. We would not so much wait to unstop the cork of a pilfered “liberated” brandy but to stop it all back up again in the first place. You have heard of women’s clubs, such as ours, creating calendars of their members photographed tastefully nude, a fundraiser for charity. Our idea was only, we thought, a slight variation on such projects. Perhaps it was Dr. Minnick himself who suggested it, inviting us to consider reconstructive surgeries “down there,” commenting that labia reduction was now his most performed and profitable operation, the norming and neatening up, if you will, of the pudenda to the standard folds and tufts, bolsters and grooves, of the ideal cosmetic model. Again, we were thrilled, that such miracles could be performed relatively painlessly in an outpatient setting. But I did know for a fact that this would not suit us. We proposed to Dr. Minnick that he attempt to go beyond the mere landscaping of what could be seen but also seek the unseen, to take us back in time. To state it simply—to reattach our long-gone maidenhoods, cinching closed once more the orifice of our experience, virginal once more. And this he did, was anxious to do. Inventing a kind of embroidered helmet for the task, he wove the cap together from multicolored and multigauged sutures, a kind of monofilament cartilage tissue. The truth is when we are together now, reading further into the lives of the saints and the endless mortifications of the flesh, we continue to admire, in great detail, during our break for cookies and tea, his handiwork performed on each and every one of us, and how such emendations have delivered us all, strangely beautiful and pristine, one step closer to God.

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