“What’s this?” Emma held up the small wad of bills bundled together in a circle.
“It’s the money I owe you.”
Emma put her Honda in park and weighed the cash in her palm. “Where’s the rest?”
Simon shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he leaned down to meet Emma’s eyes through the cracked car window.
“That’s all I could get right now. I’ll have the rest by-”
“Tomorrow. You’ll have the rest by tomorrow,” Emma said as she flicked her sunglasses off her forehead and onto her nose. “I’d hate to have to pay your mom a visit, Simon.”
He nodded and stepped back as Emma’s car pulled away, kicking up dirt.
Reason Wilder, the new mayoral candidate in Grand River, is a crowd pleaser. He has a certain energy about him that people love. There’s just one tiny problem: Reason seems to be a Frankenstein’s monster, and Gray Davenport is the only one who’s noticed.
Mr. Neutron, Joe Ponepinto’s debut novel, is a biting satire about the craziness and politics that go into elections. Gray Davenport, the beleaguered, unpaid campaign manager for Bob Boren, the underdog in the race, wants to talk about real issues, but everyone is swept up by Reason’s charisma.
Gray must figure out how best to expose Reason for what he truly is. Gray has a stake in the game: he won’t get paid for managing Bob’s campaign unless Bob wins. What’s more, his wife, L’aura, is campaigning for Reason. This is about more than just politics for Gray. He has to win Bob the election to earn his own self respect, and possibly win back his stone-cold wife’s affections.
Gray Davenport, a self-described “sofa of a man,” has trouble sticking up for himself. He calls himself a neutron, “taking up an area of space so insignificant that it was no surprise to be regularly ignored.” Continue reading
The bus headed for Cluj splashes in the puddle as it rolls in to the station in Gheorgheni, Romania on Friday at two pm. My heart jumps. I climb the few steps, hand the money to the driver and tell him to drop me off at the brewery, opposite the University of Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural Studies in Cluj. I squeeze my small backpack in the narrow alley between the rows of seats and look for an empty one. I find two vacant seats together, throw my backpack beside me and sink into the plush covering.
The bus cradles me. I slip into sleep, far away from my week of teaching English as a foreign language to lanky pimple-faced boys and wannabe fashionista girls in Salamon Erno High School in my home town, Gheorgheni.
Cluj, the flashy, fancy, everyone’s favorite city, boasts the largest student population from all over Romania. I graduated from one of its universities, Babes-Bolyai in English and Hungarian literature. Leo, my boyfriend of two years, still studies in Cluj to become a veterinarian. We meet every two weeks. He visits his family in Gheorgheni once a month, and I travel to Cluj once a month. I look forward to this weekend. Continue reading
We are the un-
knowability of the wind.
Our song terrorizes
the possibility of simple
love in simple trees
with simple nests.
This is why
our children can’t fly.
Tammy had nightmares of the man she saw in her store window. His elongated face chased her through the streets of the San Fernando Valley, her terror mounting like a progression of staccato hits rising up the scales on an untuned piano. She always woke up screaming before the crescendo.
It all began after Rachel had a gun held to her head for a measly fifty dollars. How dumb could the thief be, holding up a pillow-and-accessory shop when Dazzles, Tammy’s store three doors away sold jewelry? It was costume, plastic, some silver, a few pieces of gold, but, a pillow store?
After the police left, Rachel came in screaming and crying, “Why me?” her eyes red and twitching, mouth pinched. Tammy knew what Rachel was thinking: you take in more money than I do, why didn’t he put a gun to your head? Continue reading
Paul Cohen’s debut novel, Glamshack, is a gritty, sensual journey through a man’s obsession with a woman, and her fiance.
The object of Henry’s obsession, a woman referred to only as Her and She, is almost pure male fantasy: dripping with sex, full of manic energy and childlike imaginativeness. She feeds Henry raw tuna out of a can with her hands and playfully poses as other people in public, adopting a Southern accent to get served at a closed restaurant.
Slow to unfold, but fairly fast-moving once you get past the first few chapters, Glamshack dives into Henry’s psyche. Narrated in the second person, Henry attempts to explain how he became the way he is, how his obsessive desire began, weaving his tale into beautifully constructed sentences. Cohen’s language throughout is gorgeous. He captures the essence of pure, raw, unfiltered desire in ways reminiscent of Nabokov’s playful-but-dark Humbert Humbert in Lolita.
ink from my pen
flows through my veins
just beneath the skin
snaking its way
towards the source
of its maddening chaos
it stains the bones
of my rib cage
seeping into the marrow
Six days of unusually foul weather delayed Miranda and Jeremy’s climb up Hawk Mountain. So, they were determined to take advantage of the first clear sky and warm sun. After parking the car in the gravel lot beside the rain-swollen muddy river that ran through the state’s largest nature preserve, Miranda and Jeremy stood at the trailhead.
Peering through the overgrown brush in search of the footpath beside the roaring waterfall, Miranda spun to Jeremy. “Think we can make it all the way to the top?”
“I know I can,” he called back.
Always ready for a challenge, physical or otherwise, Miranda said, “First one to the overlook wins.”
“What does the winner get?” Jeremy asked.
“Whatever she wants. The loser cannot refuse any demand.”
“She?” Jeremy replied, “What about he?”
“You gotta beat me for that to happen. Deal?” Miranda teased.
“Deal,” Jeremy agreed.