Aqaara: More Expunged

“I have no fortune for you today.” Liyuan gave Dee a cigarette.

She reached out with indifference.

“How is Icarus?”

She smoked passively, staring out.

“Sleeping poorly?”

“This is worse than a cruise ship. It’s like high school, always stuck in fucking high school.”“You had a bad time there?”

“Always seeing the same faces, doing the same things, going nowhere.”

“That’s not entirely true, Dee. We really are going somewhere.”

“Jesus, Liyuan, what’s wrong with you? Did you actually like high school?”

“Very much. I loved to learn. It was a very exciting place.”


Writing Camp: Day Two at Kenyon College

Focus is everything. Despite a tepid reaction to my first assignment – and being told that my character (me?) is an unlikable jerk, perhaps racist – I found myself getting on track. The details are the thing. And today’s work at Kenyon College on a variety of ways to implement dialogue is a good way to move things forward:

Dee reached in for the last of the pups, already half out of the incubator, not wanting to be alone. “I was six months old. You don’t remember anything at that age.”

“You can remember some things,” Calli replied. “I can remember lots of smells, like that blue blanket. I turn back into a baby when I remember it.”

Ashe laughed. “No way.”

“I think about your aunt as a little girl – she was barely three – trying to get our mother to wake up and not understanding why she wouldn’t.” The images coursed through Dee, almost like Calli had described, the smells of the kitchen, the sun across the floor and then the dark, her own stink rising with her mother’s. “I was crying too. Don’t forget that. She had to feed me cereal and bread, handfuls and handfuls of it. And still I wouldn’t stop.”

Ashe had her face pressed close to the pup’s. “How long were you there with her?”

“Three days,” Calli answered. “She’s told us like a million times.”

Anori Outtake: Waiting

She looked from her tiny window to the wall, her back hunched against the cement wall, and closed her eyes, breathing only through her nose, slowly, feeling for her heart, waiting for it to stop and skip, finally lying on her side, keeping her hands around her legs, trying to fall asleep like that. But she couldn’t. She flipped from her side to her back and had her hand in her jeans, under her panties, tucking her finger in, not moving it, just keeping it there, cupping her hand over that, thinking she would never be free. IMAG4357She slept once the sun had left her window, nearing seven in the morning, and slept through the afternoon; she was happy to see her church iceberg as she had left it, its pyramid bright white and fluffy, its shirts every shade of electric blue. She was lonely and empty, sick with it; it was like a gas she couldn’t swallow. She didn’t want to be here. None of this had anything to do with her. There was nothing she could understand, just the rocks and ice and never-ending light. She needed something else, something to fight against. IMG_3185As much as she hated the hypocrisy and greed, the contradictions, the lies and hate, she needed them to work against. Without the avarice, she had nothing to despise, only the emptiness of space, endless and eternal and gut-wrenching, the same feeling she had looking into the water, into those depths.

Anori Outtake: Pop-Up Babar

Dee sat on the floor and went through the books on the bottom shelves, and opened an old Pop-Up book, Babar’s Moon Trip. il_570xN.330724227She opened and closed the center of the book, the space station rising up, falling down again. il_570xN.330724185She played with the bent point of the space tower, toying with the tip of it until it broke and rolled the dirty piece of cardboard between her thumb and forefinger.

Anori Outtake: In Custody

“Miss Sinclair.” Officer Duncan sat pert behind his desk and held out a blue index card.  “You fill in one of these?”


“I need you to fill it in.”

“I’ll wait for my lawyer.”

He hunched over the desk, his black pointy hair sticking out from his small features and hands, and turned away from her to Officer Manzoni at the desk beside him. “Processing the 10-64?”

Officer Manzoni, intent on his screen, his goateed chin pushed forward, wire-frame glasses tight against the bridge of his nose, took a moment to respond. “Series two.”

“It’s not Series two.”

Officer Manzoni shrugged.

Officer Duncan glanced down at Dee again, almost surprised she was still there, waiting like a child. “1151, you can have a seat.”

Dee waited, looking through the newspapers again and considered the picture of her jumping again, peering at her half exposed breast again and then her arms awkwardly out, her right leg almost straight out, like she had been pushed. It made her stomach turn, looking at herself, thinking how she could have broken her ankle and then remembering the tunnel and the dark and thinking she might actually still be in there, comatose, leaking toward her last breath. She looked around and saw Officer Duncan over her, Officer Manzoni just behind.

“This way.”

Anori Outtake: Taking Pictures

She opened her eyes to see the intern with his phone up, flat, facing her; he was taking a picture.

“What are you doing?”

He lowered it as she stared back and looked down, opening a file. Dee waited for him to look back, but he wouldn’t, keeping his face stupidly low.

“Hello?” Dee knocked on the table; everyone looked up at that.

He hunched forward. “I’m sorry?”

“Fucking admit it.”

He made a ridiculous quizzical face and looked around at the others.

Dee stood and reached across the table.

“What is this?” The judge returned from the hall.

“This guy just took my picture.”

“Miss Sinclair, you will have to sit down.”

“He just took my fucking picture!”20150106_074058

“Your language!”

“Is it allowed, judge? Yes or no?”


“Look at it then.” Dee waved at the lawyer to surrender his phone.

She glanced back at the lawyers. “Mr. Cates, did you take her picture?”

“I was scrolling through my messages, looking for a file-”

“Did you take her picture, Mr. Cates?”

“I was…It was a mistake.”

Anori Outtake: Bathroom Prayers

The door led into a hall back into another room like this, another door, another corridor, and then the bathroom. Dee sat in the stall. She had to shit but then couldn’t. It was trapped inside her like everything else. The door squeaked open and someone came in the stall beside her. The protracted silence became funny and she wanted to laugh, but she couldn’t get it out, and her face was getting red. She was scared of an aneurysm; she was pushing that hard. And then she was done. Malcolm’s assistant pulled out three paper towels in quick succession and balled them together. “I’m praying for you.”


“I’m praying for you.”


“I’m praying for you to have the strength.”

“You’ll have to stop saying that.”

“I can’t stop praying for you.”

“Prayers have nothing to do with it. It’s the lawyers.”

“Prayers are in my heart.”

“Why would you…? I’ve never heard anything so stupid.”

“I’m praying for you through this difficult time.”

“Jesus Christ!” Dee’s hands cramped around the empty air. “You say that again and I’ll have to punch you!”

“Excuse me?”

“Say that one more time and I will punch you in the jaw. Got it?”

She peered back, her eyes pleading with Dee to find peace and love in everyone’s heart.