Tag: Women

Lone Bird by Beth Kanter

Her feet always showed her age more than the rest of her body. Dried blister atop dried blister, flaking skin; a bone spur adding dimension to her little toe. I cradle her foot in my hands and began to massage it starting with the toes and working my way down to the heel. Slowly and evenly I make circular motions with my thumbs, kneading the cold flesh of the woman who raised me. Everyone needs a little pampering. What you don’t get in life, you should get in death.

Scrubland by Leela Raj-Sankar

After the funeral, Andy took me on a drive into the desert, past where the roads turned to dirt and the cookie-cutter suburban houses turned to scraggly, thorn-filled bushes. Predictably, he didn’t say anything for the whole hour, just tapped his fingers against the steering wheel rhythmlessly. Andy never talked much, even when we were kids; it’s why I liked him. But now, suffocating under the bone-dry August heat, I wished he would offer me something to hold on to, even if it was one of the meaningless platitudes I’d spent the entire afternoon fielding.

The day of Kaya’s death marked the end of an extremely anticlimactic monsoon season. Arizona had been drought-prone since before I could remember, but this summer is a different beast, Kaya had told me. I remembered, with sudden, terrible clarity, the redness on her cheekbones that never had time to turn to a full-blown sunburn. This summer is a different beast. She had been warning me the whole time. Why hadn’t I listened?

Sprinkles by Eule Grey

Eggs.

Eggs, potatoes, onions, spices, oil, tomatoes, ham. Cheese: optional.

Eggs.

Eggs, potatoes, onions … eggs.

It’s a long list. Miranda can remember the first three items but not the rest. She copies from her ‘Meals for One’ cookbook onto the notepad, making sure to write in quite large letters so it will be legible in the shop. Last week she didn’t do this, and when she stood in front of the supermarket aisles with a page of scribble, it was no good. No good at all.

The Auteur by Alexander B. Joy

Her co-star had been in the middle of his line, but she couldn’t help it. The instructions were to sip from her glass, right at that moment. Yet as soon as the liquid passed her lips, it burned, and by reflex she sprayed it all over the table – and the actor across from her.

“Cut! Cut!” shouted the director, in that inimitable accent of his.

“I’m really sorry,” she said, as a costumer dressed her co-star in a new shirt.

“Quite all right,” the co-star said. “Far from the worst response I’ve received.”

Useless Werewolf by Naaz Frederick

Being a werewolf is horrible. Being a useless werewolf is worse. At night you are crazy and unstable. Why did you let this happen? You wouldn’t be a werewolf if you said just said no. Why didn’t you deny it? You don’t remember being asked. You didn’t want this. Why are you complaining? Everyone nowadays claimed to be turned, you are not special. You are nothing. You hear your mother on the phone earlier, you heard it too clearly with your trained ears.

“These fake werewolves are destroying the lives of who turned them, why would you expose if someone was turning people? That’ll cost them their lives.” Your mother hates the new trend, as she calls it, of involuntary werewolves calling out those turned them.

Bad Mood Camp by Alison Bullock

Marjorie’s having dinner with a few friends on Newbury Street. They’re at a cute little sidewalk bistro with red umbrellas and lots of string lights. Marjorie’s telling about her recent stay at a wellness retreat.  Bad Mood Camp, as it’s popularly known, was featured in both  O Magazine and Goop. Even though the waiting list is a mile long, she finagled her way in through her chiropractor, who knows somebody who knows somebody.

Marjorie lowers her voice. “When you first arrive, you’re outfitted with a wardrobe for the week. The clothes are all incredibly comfortable. No tight waistbands. Fabrics so soft you want to rub your cheek on them. And they look pretty good on you, too.”

Fury by Harvey Molloy

When Shaun gets home, he opens a cold one—and one for his flatmate Connor if he feels generous—then checks his updates on Instagram and Twitter.  At work he hides his phone in his backpack. Keep the good screen time for home. Well, that’s the plan. But since the start of the month he been checking the phone every half hour and when he’s not coding or reading work emails or at a meeting he’s hunched over his phone or thinking about tweets and posts. He even dreams Instagram dreams.

This evening he comes home, showers, and slumps onto a lounge chair, phone in hand. Here’s a photo of Chava, Auckland’s newly-elected youngest ever councillor, outside one of the flagship pharmacies piloting a safe drug zero-waste scheme, smiling as she holds a carton of almost expired paracetamol. Why let this drug go to waste because the companies made surplus drugs after the last pandemic wave? The new scheme will collect surplus drugs and donated food as part of the ongoing rebuild project.