There was a rumour all throughout the palace that the Chevalier D’Argent was secretly a woman.
Tuesday was slow at the Epsilon 109 Portside Restaurant. Aside from the usual staff and a couple of engineers doing maintenance work, the docks had been empty all morning, and only a few people from the colony had been in. Shayla had spent lunchtime cleaning the undersides of tables and triple-checking the settings on the menu input screens. Kui had offered to let her leave early, but she didn’t have anywhere to be, and even the few extra bucks she’d make by staying could be added to her savings.
Shayla had just taken out her computer to read another chapter of her book when the doors slid open with a pneumatic woosh. Quickly putting it back in her pocket, she jumped up from her seat at the counter. “Welcome to 109 Portside! Feel free to sit anywhere you like and I’ll be right over–”
At the sound of the familiar voice, Shayla felt a rush of joy through her whole body. She looked over to see her girlfriend: her red hair tied back in a ponytail, her skin pale pink and dotted with a galaxy of freckles. “Gemma!” She ran to the door, wrapping her arms tightly around her.
“Missed you too,” said Gemma quietly, returning the embrace.
That night, for the first time in a year or so, Chisato starts to cry while brushing her teeth.
She barely even realizes it until she hears her mom’s footsteps down the hall. She spits out her toothpaste and tries to wipe her face dry, but her eyes have already gone red and puffy, and she’s breathing in little sobs. It’s too obvious to hide it now.
There’s a knock on the bathroom door. “Chisato? Are you all right? Did something happen?”
Chisato opens the door. “It’s nothing, mom,” she says, with her best embarrassed smile. “I… um… I’m under a lot of stress at school right now, and… well, it’s that time of the month for me, so…”
Her mom doesn’t respond, but her face says she doesn’t quite buy it.
Someone once told Tam that there was nothing sadder in the world than a celibate incubus. He can’t remember who said it, or when. He can’t remember much at all, now. All he has are flashes: he bought a ticket to Vancouver, he was on the plane, he checked into a hotel… and then what? It doesn’t matter.
He might be dying.
“Behold, she comes to meet you, does the Beautiful West, meeting you with her lovely tresses, and she says, ‘Here comes he who I have borne, whose horn is upstanding, the eye-painted pillar, the bull of the sky! Your shape is distinct; pass in peace, for I have protected you’ — so says the Beautiful West to the king.”
from Pyramid Text Utterance 254, trans. R. O. Faulkner.
“It is good of my mother to order me like this,
‘Give it up out of your sights’;
see how my heart is torn by the memory of him,
love of him has stolen me.
Look what a senseless man he is
– but I am just like him.
He does not realise how I wish to embrace him,
or he would write to my mother.”
from Papyrus Chester Beatty I, trans. B. Mathieu
The Loft was this platform in the back of the store where we kept boxes of breakfast cereal and toilet paper and junk that wasn’t too heavy and took up a lot of space. On one side was a bare concrete wall. The other three opened onto what would have been the second story of the building – there wasn’t even a railing, and if you took one step too far, you hit the bare floor below. Lots of people hated going up there because the platform was plywood and it felt like it could break at any time. I tried my best to avoid it too, until around September, when I realized that Jesse Harman was living up there.
Tuesday night study sessions with Jonathan and Scott were always pretty nondescript. We’d bury the living room of our student house in textbooks, pollute the air with eraser shavings, order some Chinese or pizza, turn on the hockey game, and get no work done whatsoever. It was a repetitive cycle, yeah, but I’m a creature of habit, and as far as I was concerned, eating the same greasy Chinese food or pizza every week was not only good for my sanity, but also good for my soul. (My arteries, not so much.)
Suppose that a fine, honest-looking young man, walking through the streets of the West End one afternoon, should stop suddenly and make a loud exclamation of surprise. A wealthy gentleman nearby might see the young man bend down to pick up a diamond ring. The young man, eager to share the news of his good fortune, tells the gentleman that he might well get five pounds for the ring at a pawnbroker’s shop. Believing the ring to be of far greater value, the gentleman offers to save him the trouble and purchase it himself on the spot. The exchange takes place and both parties walk away satisfied.
She’s lying on the ratty couch with her head in her hands. She looks up when Ranjit enters the room, which is a good sign – she looks scared, and bone-weary, but she’s not broken.
“Listen, I’m not a john. I’m here to help you.” Ranjit isn’t sure what language he’s speaking until the words come out of his mouth, and even then it’s a tough call. Possibly Czech. “What’s your name?”
“Darja,” says the girl automatically.
“Okay, Darja. Let’s get out of here. Can you stand? Are you sick, or injured?”
by Yamanashi Moe (山梨もえ) illustrated by _reirei (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/110704.html) Ky brought me the doll near the beginning of the month. She was seriously messed up. The plasticized rubber on her left arm had melted right off, so you could see the metal skeleton holding her together. Both her eyeballs were cracked and one of the […]
by Yamanashi Moe (山梨もえ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/97774.html) “What about this?” Yanzi examines the tunic carefully. It’s deep green, embroidered with tiny, pale blue flowers of indeterminate type. The silk is of good quality. He vaguely remembers receiving it as a birthday present last year from the Minister of Finance, a balding little ass-kisser with horrible taste. […]
by Yamanashi Moe (山梨もえ) illustrated by crowfish (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/85227.html) Although I can’t dismiss the mem’ry of his kiss, I guess he’s not for me. -“But Not For Me,” George and Ira Gershwin Jake can’t remember where he got this CD and it’s driving him absolutely crazy. A burnt CD, of course, like most of his […]
by Yamanashi Moe (山梨もえ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/72249.html) Today Rafael leaves the city to go home for the weekend. He can only afford to do this every month or two. It takes three hours by chicken bus, over pockmarked gravel roads, up and down countless mountains. He carries nothing with him but some tortillas. The bus is […]
by Yamanashi Moe (山梨もえ) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/59800.html) The first thing is the silence. It is not heavy or oppressive, but it is cool, like a concrete basement. The smallest noises seem loud in the house. The stillness reaches from the foyer to the dining hall to the parlour where the Demon Prince sits in a high-backed […]
by Yamanashi Moe (山梨もえ) illustrated by amei (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/47845.html) “Um, sir? Excuse me, is that ‘The Detective’s Legs’ by Tamura Hiroshi?” The boy standing in front of Tamura is pale and skinny, with wispy red-blonde hair. He wears the uniform of a nearby high school, with the top button of his shirt undone. His face […]