Thursday, June 24, 2010


In respect of LGBT WEEK… Gabby is an outsider girl with a lesbian Mom.  Gabby learns that just being lesbian doesn’t make you cool, and her Mom’s girlfriend is as annoying as Mom’s last boyfriend.

Gabby: “Gabby, what’re you doing?” Ellen yells to me, even though I’m only in the next room.  Her tone says:  “Whatever you’re doing, it’s not as important as what I’m about to ask.”
“Folding laundry,” I say.  My tone says, “Your laundry so’re you sure you want to get on my case now?”
“Get me a snack.  Gab-by,” Ellen whines.  Gabby!”
     “Get it yourself!  God!  I’m folding your laundry right now —“
     “Gaaaby, my feet hurt.  You try wearing three inch heels for eight hours.  What’s your problem anyway, just get me some of those pita chips and some of that spicy hummus from last night.  It’s not that difficult, I’m not asking for you to come up with a gourmet -- Gabby?  Are you listening to me?  Come on Gabby, I’m serious.  Your mother always tells me what a good kid you are… Gabby, are you there?  Gabby, what’re you doing —“
     “Alright, alright!” I say, dropping the laundry on the dining room table.  Anything to shut Ellen up.
     I hate Ellen.  I wish my Mom were home.  This is so Cinderella.  Lesbian Cinderella.

You think it’s going to be different when your Mom reveals to you she’s coming out as a lesbian, I mean, I thought that.  Not just different as in no smelly guys tracking mud in the house and sneaking glances at my chest.  I don’t know why, but I thought when my Mom made peace with her sexuality and got a girlfriend, our life was going to be all about fresh flowers, impromtu fashion shows, sunglasses and floppy hats, makeovers, ice cream straight from the carton… I thought when Ellen moved in it was going to be like the perfect sleepover party.
Reality?  Since my Mom got with Ellen, not only is life at home not girl talk and sleeping bags in front of the TV, I can’t even have a real sleepover party with my friends.  Seriously, no one is allowed to sleep over at my house anymore.  None of my so-called friends’ parents want their kid to sleep over in a house full of lesbians.  They like think life in my house is a non-stop orgy or a sex ed. class or something, which is almost as funny as me thinking it would be a non-stop ice cream sleepover.
I want my mom to be happy, I do! I think as I spoon hummus into a small plastic bowl, exactly two tablespoons because Ellen’s on Weight Watchers.
     A tear slips out of my eye and slides over my cheek.  I wipe it away quickly, but another tear follows, then another, then faster and faster, and I’m crying, and I can’t stop and all I want is someone to get a snack for me, to love me.  Right now it feels like I don’t have two Moms, I have two children.  And they’re not the cool kids on the block like I expected they would be.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Jessica first appeared in a short story I wrote, called “The Book”, for the anthology “Lost and Found”.  The story is a memory of Jesse and her best friend Anne… first love, and of the events leading up to a tragic accident.

When I isolate, I go all the way, I mean no contact with the outside world, I mean if you’re not an anxiety or nasty phrase in my head, you’re just not in my space, know what I mean?  I’ve been in that head space for weeks.  Not everyday since the accident, but most.
But today, in spite of the pain in my leg, I slid on a pair of sweats and asked my Mom to drive me to the gym. 
When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t even muster the energy to put on my iPod and listen to angry alternative music and cry.  I felt too badly even for that.  Honestly? I wanted to die today.  I usually keep up a good face, and I exercise my bad leg faithfully, but not lately.  Not since a week ago last Tuesday.  Yep, that was the last day I felt like living.  
But this morning I thought, if I spent another day in bed, or dragging my leg uselessly behind me in mental and physical agony -- I might as well be dead.  I deserved to be dead.
Yet I knew, or had myself partly convinced, that I also deserved a chance to feel better, go figure.  Am I forgiving myself for Anne’s death?  I hope not.  Still….
“How are you today?” my Mom wants to know.
I see the For Sale sign on Anne’s old house next door as we pull out of the driveway, and I say, “Dunno,” which is true.  I dunno anything. 
At the gym I lifted three pounders:  biceps, triceps, delts front, middle, back, pecs, lats, rhomboids.  I sucked in my gut and pulsed up and sideways.  I stretched – feeling, if not actually hearing -- my bad leg creak as I pulled it straight and leaned for all my might.
I felt better.  Like one baby step outta my head.
Not happy enough to shower at the gym with all those women, friendly and loud, but well enough to stop in the coffee shop for a cappuccino before my Mom came to get me. 
OhmiGod!   There, in the coffee shop, was Lark, my dearest friend from rehab., Lark with her fused spine and only one complete arm.  Lark, who reminded me how much worse pain could be.  Call it the Power of the Universe, God or Goddess, the Tao, or just Dumb Luck – Lark!  Here, now! I seriously almost cried. 
I said I’d been meaning to call her, but… and she said, “I know.  Me too.”  Then we hugged, my crutches hanging from my wrists and clanging behind her back, she supporting me with her one arm, a couple of crips no longer alone… God!  Good!  Smiles on broken lives like bandages on our hearts!
And I was out!  Out of my self-imposed isolation.  Free of my meanie self, my head-jail.  Never free of guilt, but walking in the world. 
I dunno, but it seems like it’s good enough for today.  Freakin a miracle, if you ask me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Megan is a rich California girl stoner, who formerly appeared in OGW, Dec.3.  Her friend Stacy wrote OGW, Jan.21.

Megan:  Today it’s my birthday!  (da naa naa na naa naa)

Lying on the floor, smelling carpet.  Cigarette burning, ashes falling without me having to tap it, my hand floating over the ashtray.

Suspended animation.

I’m all, “I don’t think we’re gonna make the movie,” and Stacy’s like, “Why not?” and I’m like, “’Cause I can’t get off the floor,” and she’s all hardee har har.

Well, outta Stase, it’s more like, “p-ha-ha (hiccup) hee hee p-ha-ha, hee” cause she’s trying not to laugh too hard, she’s trying to act all together and not ass-kicked, on the floor, STONED.  She’s like, “Did you ever notice how everything comes in three’s?”

I heard on the east coast, which is where my sister Angela goes to Hah-vard, there’s like no such thing as Chronic. (!!!)  Angela says there’s like “B” weed, and people charge a heap and it’s not even “A” weed, and I’m all, “I’m there, sista, gonna pack up my trunk full of chronic and drive out there this summer and sell it,” but she’s such a downer, she’s like, “Megan they’re going to send you back to rehab if you don’t shape up,” and I’m all, whatever, bitch.

Stacy says, “If you drive across country with your trunk full of weed, you have to be careful, remember that Stephen King book with the cop with the melting face and shit who like threw those people in jail and was going to send them to hell or some shit, like remember that?  It was like called like Deliverance or whatever—“

“Deliverance was a movie.”

“Yeah, this was a movie.  Ohh my God!  And remember that other movie!  Texas Chainsaw Massacre, right?  Don’t drive through Texas.”

“I know, right?”

The chronic we smoked after school today is my favorite, it’s called Blueberry, and Stacy’s bro knows the grower so we get it lots and also this other weed called Spaceland, which is Stacy’s favorite—

What was—is someone at the door?  I’m so fucking doomed if--

No.  Getting paranoid. 

Feeling my toes dig into the carpet, feeling like it’s totally interesting, but then why am I feeling sweaty and now I’m getting nauseous and crap oh crap I’m having a panic attack is someone at the door is my face melting I wanted to go to the movies and now I can’t and if someone’s at the door I’m fucking dooooomed I’m screwwwwed I’m fucked up and sweating and this weed is so strong you do half a hit and you’re on the floor and that’s cool that’s cool Megan that’s cool don’t freak out I’m freaking out I need to stay up to stay out to--

“Give me another hit, now Stase, now!”

I suck on the bong.  Bongs are gross.  The way they gurgle is like a whole lot of spit in the throat of this glass beast.  Hate bongs, but you can’t smoke chronic in a joint cause Stacy’s brother’s friend says it’s like so not cool and it wastes the good weed and you have to use a bong—

Shit.  Head hit the carpet.  Staring into the fibers, it’s dark down here.

See the net underneath, holds the fibers together, makes a carpet for my face to rest on.  Can’t close my eyes.

Monsters inside.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Lucy is a new Outsider Girl.  In this very short piece, she repeats the mantra, “Peace, love, respect,” but seems to be the only one who holds out hope for that.

Lucy:  “Peace, Love, Respect,” my mother says to me, well, yells down to me from upstairs, where she claims to be watching a movie and giving me and Keith some “quality alone time”, another of Mom’s catch phrases.
     But how do I live the mantra -- the peace, the love, the respect -- when Keith is using his “You don’t understand a word I’m saying because you’re so—“
     “--fucking frustrated!  Yes, I’m frustrated, Lucy!  You will not fucking listen!  And another thing—“
     I’m thinking, “Peace.  That means no fighting.  Love, that means caring for each other.  Respect, that means treating others the way you’d like to be treated.  Listen!  Lucy, you have to listen!  Give him his say, and maybe he’ll feel better.  Maybe he’ll want to kiss you.  Maybe he’ll tell you how lovely you look today, how your blue eyes sparkle and your curls are so soft they smell like lavender, and—“
     Maybe when he reaches out his hand he will stroke your cheek and tell you he loves you instead of what I know he’s—
     My head snaps back from the force of his slap, so hard, I hear my neck crack.  I don’t dare cry.  Peace, love, respect, peace, love, respect, peace, love, respect, I keep saying to myself.