A young newspaper reporter in New York sent out to investigate the death of a young woman. When her editor shoves the story in ago a tiny corner of the paper and tells her to forget it, she's too intrigued to quit and she goes on to discover Susan Belle.
Taking place unsurprisingly in Chicago, a city where things are simultaneously being born and being broken nearly every moment, two people who used to love each other who - quite simply - realize that they do not love each other any more. It is, for all intents and purposes, the end of a love story and an honest exploration of the great sadness when we cannot will ourselves back into the people we used to be.
A young girl spends her one week yearly vacation from a frozen burrito factory traveling across the country as far as she can get in stolen cars. Her goal is to reach New York in a week. Her plans hit a snag when she decides see California's giant redwoods with a married man in his red Mercedes convertible. Redwoods is a beautiful, funny and reflective of the loneliness that accompanies broken dreams.
The trainer of a man who has been training as a boxer in Texas with the Golden Gloves is the first to notice that his student is no longer wearing his wedding ring. The man just wants to get back some of what he feels he's lost.
Two sisters, Daphne and Quinn, whose mother leaves them and their father when they are impressionable preteens. It charts their reactions, their memories, their anger, their ways of coping. Ultimately it is a story of growing up, a story of navigating the unexpected the people who wind up next to us, and a story not of the mother who leaves but of the family who is left and who ultimately stays.
The opening paragraphs of a full length novel; Rudi, deep in debt, with work, domestic and marital problem, is offered an unusual escape, a lifeline; a chance to disappear and start a new life, far away. Will he accept his fate or a life changing challenge?
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"Good morning Mrs. Bisson," the cheerful caller said at 8 a.m. sharp.
Hell, I thought. Another sales pitch and they can't even get my name right.
"Mrs. Bisson, Woodlawn Cemetery is offering a special deal today if you buy one of our prearranged funeral plans."
"I'm not dying," I answered. "Why don't you call my ex-husband? I'm sure he'd be excited to hear all about your plan. Tell him I recommended you call." After I hung up, I turned over hoping to fall back to sleep.
The phone rang ten minutes later.
"I wish you'd stop giving my phone number out to all those crazy telemarketers!" Howie screamed into the answering machine before slamming the phone down.
Howie has changed his phone number at least a dozen times, but that hasn't stopped me. Most of our mutual friends know I'm passing these calls on to him, so they give me his new phone numbers, even the unlisted ones.
At exactly 8:30 am the phone rang again, but I didn't answer it. I knew Howie was retaliating by passing one of his calls onto me. I smiled as I lay in my comfortable bed, listening to a telemarketer try to talk me into having my rugs and upholstery cleaned.
I was just falling back into a deep sleep when the phone rang again. "I don't need a set of Great Books, a prearranged funeral plan, I don't give to charities, the stock market is in the toilet so I won't come to your stock seminars, but if you're calling about any of those things I mentioned, I suggest you call the following number," I said, and gave them Howie's latest home and office phone numbers.
Another thing I do to get even with my ex, is to enter his name and phone numbers on all those little papers in the malls, since I know those names are put on other calling lists.
Of course, if my alimony check is a day late, I go through the yellow pages or the Penny Saver Newspaper and call firms saying that I need their repair services, and give them Howie's address. I think he's finally gotten the message, because my checks are actually arriving before they're due.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent Howie gift subscriptions to a half dozen raunchy girlie magazines. It was worth the extra cash. Friends told me his latest girlfriend, Bubbles, moved out after the third one arrived.
But the best thing I recently did was to send my friend Richard into some Gay Bars to write Howie's name and phone number on the bathroom walls. Now rumor has it, that Howie is seeing a well-known shrink twice a week.
Oh well, I must say I'm having more fun with Howie now, than I did in the 20 years that I was married to him. Who says, revenge isn't sweet?
It Died in Chicago, the Same Way it Came
By Julie Ardelean
It was morning but still dark by the time we stumbled home from Gilligan's, down Sheffield Boulevard and up the alley to the door leading to Marcus's new apartment. If it had been earlier in the night, we would have noticed the shuffle of rats in the bushes, would have sung our screams and squeals, laughed and grabbed onto the nearest elbow to link with our own. But it wasn't earlier, and we were too many drinks in to notice the rats. It felt familiar, this carelessness. I had moved to the desert years ago, but whenever I came back to this city and these people, I slid into my former self like an appliance being put back in the box for a move. After a few vodka-sodas and shots named after slutty girls and body parts, it was easy to be that person again. I held my heels by their straps, and tottered toward Marcus's.
"It's so late," Aggie said. "My feet hurt. When will be there?"
"Almost there, just a couple more blocks," Marcus responded to her but didn't look at her. He looked at me, sucked on his bottom lip and then looked at the sidewalk.
"Goddamn, Ags, do you ever stop complaining?" Another said. He shook his head, laughed harsh into the night. He was walking next to me, started talking so only I could hear. "They call it the city of lights, he said. And they're right. Nights like this, the lights are reflected everywhere. They were blinking on our glasses at the bar. Out here they're dull and broad in the snow. Look at the water -vibrating and expanded in Lake Michigan. It's like the lights from the smallest windows are reflected large enough in that water to eat all of us alive. "
"It makes you wonder if this city will ever actually be dark," I said. I didn't look at him but I could hear his breath getting shorter in the cold air. I felt him hold my hand. I didn't know his name, but I knew he lived with Marcus, and I knew Marcus could see us. I let go. I heard him laugh to himself and shake his head so his coat rustled like a candy wrapper as it rubbed the back of his neck.
"It's up ahead. 3844." Marcus yelled out from behind before starting to jog past us and ahead. He stopped under an awning, dropped his keys trying to unlock the place. When he finally opened the door it lead to a narrow staircase wrapping around the glass window of the shop he lived above. It's a wine shop, he said.
"We should break in," someone laughed.
Inside was bigger than his last place. He'd lived here a few months, tried to give me a virtual tour online but I couldn't make much of the picture out. That was when we still talked every few days, when he still left me voicemails and text messages that he missed me, that he wanted me to come with him on vacation, that he wanted me to move to Colorado with him. I think I can be happy in Colorado, he'd said more than once. I'll teach you to ski, he said. I imagined what a life in Colorado with Marcus would look like. I imagined us in the evenings sharing a bottle of wine, watching our reflections in the windows that were made into mirrors by the darkness of the night. He would have his feet up, pull my calves onto his lap so he could rub them as we talk about his sister who died of brain cancer, and his childhood friends, and what it means to live without a god. He always tightened his grip in these conversations and I know he would do the same in Colorado, holding onto my leg as if trying to grasp that lost holiness in me. Let's just wait and see, I said. Silence. I'm not saying no, I said.
Merce is a hilarious original musical comedy web series about a middle-aged, HIV-positive man living in New York City. He is unashamedly and flamboyantly gay, a Pollyanna who sees some events in his life through an MGM lens. Merce is bawdy, outrageous and fun, proving that life can be positive even when you're positive.