Julia sighed. "How have you been doing this for twenty years and still have any optimism?"
The Visitation Room.
She would always look hesitant, even a little frightened, when she first came in, as if making a mental adjustment.
Every two or three days, someone would find it and add a sighting of their own.
Ten, then fifty, then two hundred.
Change of Plan.
"'You could make it worth my while to overlook you,' she said, smiling slightly."
Dewey and Her.
"New adventures, right? Let me see if I can get you more into it. Or do you want to do it yourself? Wow, I didn't know you got embarrassed."
For Reference Only.
I try to look like I'm reading the newspaper that's open on my desk. I shift in my seat. I know why I can't find a comfortable position, but there's no way I'm putting my hand down there again while he's looking.
Expanding On an Idea.
What I am looking at is a fair approximation of an earthball with a person lying on top of it.
Outside the Palace.
The color blurred wildly as it came back in, and when it focused, the sunken bath was full and steaming. One day she was going to put hot and cold plumbing in the palace, and balls to anachronism.
Dreaming of Flowers.
"I heard," Oriele said to me at the front desk, "that there's a succubus in the complex."
Finally she said, "I've never had someone dislike me before."
"I find that hard to believe."
The Jaguar's Wife.
My head wouldn't unkink. I clutched her wrist. "I'm not here for that."
She smiled. Her teeth were very white. "Liar."
With flawless timing, the door to the hospital room opened. "You," Liz said, "are a moral coward."
"It wasn't my fight."
"It's never your fight. You always want to be Switzerland."
The Vanishing Girl.
And then there was what was unspoken. With her the most interesting parts usually were.
Still learning, she thought, and then she smiled a little, and then she started laughing and couldn't stop as she let herself slide down the wall to a crouch on the floor and then she was crying again.
"Yesterday the Yudai gave me a penalty," he said. "Do you remember?"
"Uh-huh. You threw your book on the floor." She reflected on this. "It is a pretty dumb book."
The three of us do look a lot alike - I mean, we are siblings. We aren't hairy, muscular he-men; we aren't hugely busty, curvy women either. Somewhere just about exactly in the middle, neither here nor there. Which makes sense, if you think about it.
"Did you ever have trouble," he asked, "remembering your phone number because you never call yourself?"
"That's different, though. You can't forget your name. It's like forgetting your birthday."
"I have an even harder time remembering my birthday," he said.
Judith followed his anger like a scent trail. Tracking it across one hall and down another, too intent to see how eager she was. In an intersection she realized, and froze, stunned at her own activity.
I'm going to have to tell this in a hurry. I'm leaving wet marks on the paper where my hand drags across it.
I took the packet and stuffed it in my purse, then practically ran out of the store. Like I was buying a dirty magazine or something. I don't know, something about that weird label felt criminal to me. Bath supply espionage.
Persistence of Vision.
The Light only works when my heart is pounding, and only with one person at a time. When I was young and stupid, I tried to move a whole crowd. It was a disaster. These days I'd find the one person they'll all listen to - the super, the announcer, the boss. I've bullied the Mayor three times. But he doesn't remember it.
Ruth debated whether to try for a refund on her plane ticket or commit suicide.
She had been partially dismantled. The pelvis and everything below it was missing. Her main cable cluster jutted out of the bottom of her torso, wires of all sizes flowing out like streams of multicolored liquid onto the table she lay upon.
The Limbo Diner: Expectancy.
"A business conference?" Henna said, oozing interest. "And what is it that you do?"
"He sells insurance," said Mme S and Cassie, from opposite ends of the counter.
Labia means "lips." Labia don't look like lips. Lips are soft and padded, soothing like the quilting in a hand-stitched comforter. Labia look like the gills on an oyster, wavy ridges of flesh nested one inside another. It's a pity the clitoris isn't more like a pearl; it's a shame to waste a good metaphor.
Am I the world's most or least selfish lover? I only want to do things they will enjoy, but I do them only so that I can enjoy them.
"It's all right, little man," I hissed. "I won't tell anyone you liked it."
"I've never had a dream this realistic before and I'm finding it very disturbing."
Folktales, Fragments, and Ephemera
You may also wish to consult the list of tales and ephemera from my journal.
"Everyone plays in the charade, eh?" said the dyspeptic-looking, overweight man in the tweed.
What She Wants.
But if she could see them, see the places each of them has built, I don't think she'd like any of those either.
"The world of flesh holds nothing for me at present," he said, and pulled away from my embrace.
The Juniper Tree.
Then she began to cry and ran inside shouting, "Mother, Mother! I've knocked my brother's head off!"
He Saw Monsters.
It didn't help that he was the only human in the world.
Nothing Without Dignity.
The bottle was gone.
What the hell? thought Ray. The rats never drank and the cockroaches would have just tipped it over.
All Things To All People.
"I mean, you do want to have sex with me?"
"I - well - of course I do, but what if that's a mistake? I mean, I'd like to be able to still talk to you later."
"Then talk to me later," she said, moving up next to me.
The Tale Of the Defiled Convent.
Rebelting her tunic, which fortunately hung low enough below the waist for some semblance of modesty, she reflected that her disguise could not be more complete.
"Did she tell you that? No, she wouldn't. You must have come up with that one on your own. Aren't you clever? No wonder you're the only one who showed up."
The Flowers of Tiresias.
"Me too," said Lois, "but that's not what I meant. You know, Superman hasn't exactly treated either one of us well."
"What do you mean?" Lana asked, sitting up.
The lemming's really misperceived.