Heat Haze by Alyse
Which is well-sculpted and satisfying and also aptly hot, in the very very NC-17 kind of way.
The other stories are here.
You guys are kindly indulgent of my Friday, thank you. I had a scone and a work-out, and read some Garrison Keillor, and now I'm home and it's only one o'clock. Cloud-watching was definitely the right choice, at least metaphorically, as today's actual clouds are one big dense mass dripping with rain.
GK quotes from Wobegon Boy:
"People always said that Mildred was as normal as the day is long, but days get short in winter."
"Guilt? Yes, of course, we have that too. Back in the woods there used to be a sign: REPENT. GOD SEES. GOD KNOWS. It was deep in the woods, on the theory that that was where people went to do that sort of thing. We were not brought up to experience pleasure, so it doesn't register with us, like writing on glass with a pencil. Dullness is our stock-in-trade, dullness honed to its keenest edge. The sun shines and people sit in the dark, mumbling the litany of conversation--So how's Myrtle and Florian? Oh, about the same, then. And Carl? Yeah, he's fine--people talking so slow you can hear the grass grow between the sentences. Someone tells a story about a fishing trip with his brother and stops and goes back to fill in some irrelevant background and the storyteller's wife butts in to correct a date--this footnoting can go on for a long time--and hearing it is like listening to a man read pork prices for half an hour; it's not something you'd do for amusement."
"I would feed her tuna steaks and then over dessert I would propose marriage. I would say, My darling Alida, you are the love of my life, and now all I need is a life to go with you. What I have, my darling, is a lifestyle, the life of people in commercials. I have a nice house and nice things and every couple of weeks I have you, the goddess Aphrodite, but I have no coherent story of my life. I am part of no struggle, have nothing at stake. I'm a fussy man in a blue suit who consumes fine wines. I'm a viewer of shows. My only story is my childhood back in Lake Wobegon. I need passion, blood, magnificence. You are the only magnificence I know. Marry me."
"She had leapfrogged the feminists with their herstories, the progressive revisionists, the neorevisionists, the deconstructionists with their silly papers about history as pure text, wordplay, history as hissing wrist, as wistful hitting, as hidden story, stir-fry, antihistamine, and she had advanced despite hewing to an old school of thinking, wildly out of fashion, known as narrativism, which held that interpretation was a dead hand, a form of cartooning, and that narrative was All, the best filter of nonsense and political fluff..."
"The other partners got in their cars and drove home, and Howard and Steve and I sat on the steps of the house, the bright stars shining, and Steve rolled a joint and lit it and passed it around. He sat, legs drawn up under his chin, and talked about sailing as a deckhand on a freighter named the Eleanor James and how he was thrown off the ship in Athens for protesting the beating of a cabin boy by the first mate and was rescued by a black woman named Aleisha, who taught him Delta blues guitar and voodoo charms. He bummed around Europe from Greece to Finland to Turkey, playing blues on the street for spare change, and one day in Istanbul a stocky guy in a beret and a tie-dye T-shirt came up to him on a street corner and said, "Hey, cool," and it was Jerry Garcia, and the two of them traveled to India and Australia and Tahiti, and Steve spent three years with the Dead as Jerry's pal and bodyguard and keeper of the car keys, and through Jerry Steve met Moon Blossom, a poet and Sufi therapist. She and Steve moved to Alaska and lived in a geodesic dome on a glacier and were going to start an alternative performance space and then she died skiing into a fissure while high on psilocybin and Steve made her coffin out of spruce and got turned onto wood and he built a boat and sailed it to Ireland where he studied cooperage at a distillery and went to Finland and apprenticed himself to the great Aalto Maarimakki and spent six years learning the art of cabinetry and returned to the U.S. to study Shaker design in New Hampshire, which was where Howard found him."
"I sat in the cold church, the chapel organ wheezing like mortality clearing its throat, and I could feel malignant spiny things spreading in my brain. It occurred to me that I did not care for my fancy gold house and my empty life and I wanted to get married, and spring would be a perfect time for a festive wedding, my mother and dad and brothers and sisters flying in--A Tollefson family reunion. I would ask Alida to marry me. Yes I would. She had almost crashed in the hills of Virginia and I was potentially dying of a possible brain tumor, and life is too short and precious to waste time..."
"The cat struggled and leaped onto the table and hunkered down on the papers like a hairy meat loaf."
My couch calls.