Flash Fiction: Auschwitz Forever

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A concentration camp survivor visited my tenth-grade history class, as a guest speaker. It had quite an impact on me. Some of the facts in this story are indeed what this man told us bug-eyed teenagers. This short story you are about to read is my way of bringing justice to those who were affected by one of the most incorrigible crimes in human history. If you are squeamish, you may not want to go any further.

Auschwitz Forever

By Sean C. Wright-Neeley

It was always the same, but different. He woke up in the barracks, every morning. This time, he was a Jewish man. The Star of David on his prison uniform told him so. Today, they had him and the other prisoners, clearing a field in the snow. He tried as hard as he could to conceal his cold, but a Nazi guard heard him cough and sniffle. They had no use for the sick, or the weak. He was marched to the gas chamber with other emaciated prisoners when they got back to the camp.

The next morning, he was a Gypsy woman, upon waking. He had red hair, something Dr. Mengele found fascinating. What gene caused red hair? The “doctor” needed to study all her reproductive organs. He removed them all, plus all her minor organs, too, in the experiment: her appendix, tonsils, and gall bladder. He welcomed death this time.

The next day that he woke up in the barracks, he was the Jewish man again, but the flickers of his real past life bled through. His wife’s name was Ava. Or was it Eva? They lived in a tight, secretive place before this nightmare started. But why couldn’t he remember the gap in between? But he knew one thing for sure: he didn’t belong there. He had been someone important. Maybe he could get to his money, and bribe them out of this nightmare if Ava/Eva was still alive.

There was a Nazi guard there who didn’t seem too cruel. He cooked up enough courage to ask the young officer with light-brown hair and gentle, hazel eyes if he could speak to him. He asked about Ava/Eva. Is she here? Could you find out where she is, if she’s still alive? The guard stared at him a moment, then asked him to come with him. He felt hope; something he hadn’t felt in months.

They went to one of the buildings, getting curious glances from the other ragtag workers in the camp on the way. The guard opened the door for him with a smile. Something told him not to go in, but what could be worse than his present situation? He walked in, and the door immediately shut behind him. He whirled around, once inside. It wasn’t a barracks. It wasn’t a gas chamber. It was a boiler room. He squinted into the sweltering steam to see a creature, sitting at a desk. It had a goat’s head and scarlet skin.

“Hey there!” the creature said. “It has been a while. Come on in,” he said in a familiar tone in the man’s own tongue: German. The man reluctantly took a step closer.

“I-I came to ask about my wife. I have money…”

The creature laughed. “You ask this every once in a while. Your wife, Eva, is dead, and so are you. You’re never getting out of here. You gave me the idea for your hell. Bravo! It’s worse than anything I ever created. I just ran with it, making you wake up, every day, as people you victimized and murdered. Sometimes, you’re a Jewish man. Sometimes, a gypsy woman. I am thinking of making you a homosexual man tomorrow; a Jewish woman on another day. Sometimes, it’s the gas chamber; sometimes, you will be experimented on. Sometimes, the guards will shoot you, as you work, for the fun of it. Now go back out there, and get back to work,” Satan growled, pointing his cloven hoof towards the boiler room door. “You’re dismissed, Fuhrer!”

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

The Sean C. Wright Bookshelf

Pick a book for the dog days of summer.

Seanarchy

All Sean C. Wright books are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle.

Young Adult Fiction

Skoll’s Diary (2019)

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here.

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copyGlo Ro Saves Best Treasure Chest (2018)

16-year-old Glorious Day Roberts (Glo Ro) is big-haired, dyslexic, and fighting family demons. But she takes those issues in stride, instead focusing on getting to kernels of truth. When her favorite thrift store is in trouble, Glorious…

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Blood Isn’t Thicker Than Ink

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Blood Isn’t Thicker Than Ink

By Sean C. Wright-Neeley

Family and friends attend gender reveal parties, barbecues; heck, even divorce parties, but rarely attend my book signings. They buy a celebrity’s perfume or sneakers, but refuse to buy my much-less expensive books. Mentioning that I am working on a new story elicits about as much excitement as mentioning that I am changing my hairstyle.

Getting little support from strangers is to be expected when you’re an author. You can’t write in a genre everyone loves. And how else will you get truly unbiased book reviews if it weren’t for strangers, reading your work? But I was always starry-eyed about family and friends supporting my career. Granted, it’s a creative career (unless you’re strictly a technical writer). It falls into the same category as a musician or artist. Somehow, somewhere, someone will always sneer, “Get a real job.”

But I was surprised by family’s indifference – and people I consider family – about my becoming an author.

It hurt.

The apathy is one thing. The apathy, coupled with using my talents at their convenience is another. Friends and family I haven’t heard from in ages suddenly pop up, wanting me to help them write a book, help their children with English papers, write or edit formal documents, and so on. Many times (clutch the pearls), pro bono. Once the hurt subsided to disappointment, and I got my bearings, I analyzed this phenomenon. Here’s is what my sleuthing and unpacking turned up:

I’m not alone. In my peeling back the layers of this particularly baffling onion, I was relieved to discover that I was not alone. I can’t take this personally. In speaking with fellow authors, I found that this phenomenon runs through families and circles of friends like a vicious virus. Stacy (not her real name), says, “My parents are my worst critics, which is why I don’t listen to them anymore. Life is too short to allow people that much control over my happiness.”

How right she is. I have learned to ignore the haters – even if we have common DNA. And there is a silver lining to this situation. I’ve discovered that sometimes the cult following you create from your supporters becomes a new family. I have met some really neat people who read my books; people who were notold friends, acquaintances, or blood relatives. I show my appreciation for their appreciation with free advanced copies on occasions, alert them about giveaways I do with my books, or gift them with other personal author paraphernalia. Yes, home is where the heart is, and family is where the love is.

The green-eyed monster applies here, too. I thought about how frosty some friends and family could be, concerning my writing, and I also realized what underlying emotion may be present: envy. Those very same people who don’t support my writing career are often the very same ones who wish to become authors themselves. Let me rephrase that: They want to become authors, but don’t want to go on the hellacious journey. Said people see the finished product and book sales, but won’t entertain horrible first drafts, sleepless nights while novel-writing, and rejection letters. Nor do they care to. It’s the opposite of living vicariously through someone. If he or she can’t produce a book, they will not support anyone he or she knows who canproduce a book.

Some envious people don’t covet a writing career at all. They simply resent anyone else’s accomplishments. It’s another thing that I can’t take personally.

Not all support is monetary. Yes, book sales are sweet. But they are not the only way people you know and those related to you lend support. They can donate time. You’ve often heard the expression “time is money.” Well, I’ve found this proves it. People I know may not buy my books, but they share my book links on social media, email people about them, and so on. It’s a loving domino effect. A tweet about my book will eventually result in book sales, so will their encouraging people in their circles to read my books over coffee or brunch. Some gladly read review copies of my books and give honest feedback. They are indirectly showing their pride in their friend or relative. Exposure is still love and support.

While I still wish family and friends were a huge part of my book sales and book signing attendance numbers, I came to realize – slowly but surely, and with a few frowns, pouts, and tears – that it’s not solely a “Sean problem.” It’s just another not-so-pretty aspect of an author’s life, mixed in with writer’s block and unfavorable reviews. No matter which family and friends support me, writing is my family too, as I mentioned above. We’re spouses, I like to think. I chose writing, and it chose me. And like a married couple, even though we don’t always like each other, we still love each other unconditionally.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Excerpt: Devil Does Dallas

The excerpt you are about to read is in my anthology A Gathering of Butterflies. Get the book here.

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Devil Does Dallas

One, two, three

The devil’s after me.

Four, five, six

He started throwing sticks.

Seven, eight, nine

He missed me every time.

Hallelujah, hallelujah.  Amen!

— Children’s song

 “It’s time again,” Lucifer said aloud, “to remind them that I’m still here.”

Pay It Forward with Kindness, Oprah’s Angel Network, Feed the Hungry, Save a Tree, Adopt a Child from a Third World Country, Live Greener.  And the Debauchery Report was pitiful.  Murder was down fifteen percent, lying twenty-five. Adultery numbers plummeted a whopping forty percent.

Lucifer’s cloven feet clopped on the hot, stone floor as he strolled to the cages that held his three pet snakes — Slither, Hiss and Fangs.

“Daddy’s going away for a little while, babies.  You be. . .bad.”

Saddam Hussein caught sight of Lucifer walking out of Hell.

“Where are you going, Boss?”

“Up there to recruit,” Lucifer told him, “Keep the fires burning until I get back.”

Lucifer liked Saddam.  He reminded Lucifer of himself when he was expelled from Heaven.   Whenever Lucifer’s internal fires dimmed, he recalled the incident.  It helped him keep his venom.

God frowned when Lucifer rolled around Heaven on roller skates.

God shook his head when Lucifer tie-dyed his white frock. 

God scowled when Lucifer got the rebel angels together and played what would later be labeled The Devil’s Music – Rock ‘n Roll and jazz.    Not everybody wanted to hear harps’ incessant plink, plink, plink.

“Lucifer,” God had said, pursing his lips, when he got called into the office, “It’s just not working out.”

“What?” he had asked.

“Souls are here for peace and serenity. You and the other angels you associate with are disruptive.”

“But, God, not all people lived their earthly lives the same, so why should everyone live the afterlife the same?

“Son, please give me your wings,” God retorted, his voice keeping its even cadence.  His voice hadn’t wavered, but Lucifer saw God’s face had That Look. It was the look He had when someone begged Him to help, but He couldn’t because the person’s prayers weren’t destiny. Then God’s sad face became His omniscient one. 

“You think I’m trouble,” Lucifer had growled.

“I didn’t say that —“

“You didn’t have to, God.  I’ve known you an eternity!” 

And with that, he had removed his wings from his back, thrown them in God’s face, and stormed out of Heaven. Lucifer had even scared himself with the sudden display of temper, but he felt happier and freer than he had ever felt in his afterlife.  But Lucifer hadn’t wanted to steal God’s glory.  He only wanted fun.

Lucifer treaded the murk to Earth’s portals, his scaly lips curling in annoyance. Recruiting would be so much easier if it weren’t for the rules.  He could only stay on Earth each time in terms of 6 – 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days; 6 months, 6 days, and six hours, and so on.  Lucifer could not makeanyone do anything.  He could only tempt, that is, dangle the bait and collect those souls that bit.   Once a person realized who he was, he had to leave Earth – even if his term of sixes had not been finished.

His anger had pushed aside his focus.  Where was Lucifer going on Earth?  Did it really matter?  Potential sinners were everywhere.  Here was as good a place as any.  Lucifer rose from the earth, taking gentle care to brush off the grub worms and beetles that clung to him; he had a soft spot for creepy, crawly things in decaying matter.  He scanned the sable of night until he found the pot of bubbling decadence. A city.   Pin points of candy-colored lights, tall buildings, and the faint roar of car motors.

He was so excited that he did not even take note of the sign:  WELCOME TO DALLAS.

Lucifer stood under a lamp post in the thick of downtown.  Sometimes a small child or a dog spotted him, but there was no chance of that here.

Lucifer zeroed in on a Latina, waiting for the bus.   Esperanza.  She was twenty-eight.  Esperanza was the oldest of six children.  Growing up, her mother had given her slaps and ugly words when her younger siblings got into mischief or she burned the food.  A hole.  She had lost her father at seventeen.   The hole widened.  After her father’s death, Esperanza spent her adult life helping her thankless mother, who never learned to speak English.  When the lack of love and validation yielded self-loathing, she swallowed a whole bottle of pills at twenty-one.   Esperanza spent four months in a mental hospital.   When her mother had died of a stroke two years ago, she had thought, “Madre, may you eat a burnt dinner with el diabloevery night.”  She was single and worked as a maid cleaning warehouses in downtown Dallas. Esperanza did nothing more exciting than eat Hot Pockets and watch American Idoland Spanish soap operas at home.

Lucifer could hardly wait to see what came next.   But just before he could get more information, Esperanza reached into the neck of her blouse, pulled out a rope of beads.   She fingered the charm on the end of the necklace absentmindedly.  Let it dangle, exposed.  Lucifer recoiled.  A crucifix. Damn, Esperanza’s name meant hope and she had the faith!

Her bus came.  Esperanza climbed on and it pulled away.  Lucifer looked after her, his beady eyes glazed with disgust.

But the night was yet a baby.

Lucifer relaxed and waited.  Nearly four hours later…

The excerpt you just read is in my anthology A Gathering of Butterflies. Get the book here.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Lady Rougepen Says: Check Out the Mondegreen Scene

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Mondegreen: noun. Origin: English; 1950s. It’s a word or phrase, so often misheard that it becomes common to say it incorrectly. Examples:

Right: All intents and purposes Wrong: All intensive purposes

Right: It takes two to tango. Wrong: It takes two to tangle.

Many song lyrics get mondegreens!

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Flash Fiction Contest: I Won!

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I have only recently connected with the fantastic Kurt Brindley, a fellow author. He ran a flash fiction contest on one of his blog posts last week, and I thought, “What the heck. I’ll enter.” It was a challenge to keep the “meat” of the story in 100 words, or less, but it was super fun. Anyway, I won! It was really an honor, and surprise because there were other fantastic entries. Many thanks to Kurt for running this contest, and for appreciating my weird and irreverent imagination.

Read my entry here.

Click here for all Kurt Brindley books.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

IMG_4170

 

I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Toni Morrison: A Tribute

I was deeply saddened by the death of literary genius, Toni Morrison, last week. She is the reason that I am a writer. My goodbye letter to one of the most prolific writers I have ever read:

Dear Toni,

I met you when I was 13. My mother’s book club was reading The Bluest Eye, and passed it on to me after she was done with the copy. I couldn’t believe how you took such disturbing subject matter and made it poetic, compelling, and even humorous at times. Those gems at the heart of such a painful tale hooked me to your lyrical style. I still have that copy from 1985. It’s falling apart. People tell me to get a new copy, but I can’t. It’s like the first present your soulmate ever gave you, and you won’t part with it.

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I followed you through Beloved, Song of Solomon, and Sula, and Love. Even though Oprah’s movie version of Beloved didn’t do well in theaters, I was still in awe of how it bolstered your ability as a storyteller. You were the camp counselor, telling me a story by a campfire, and I was a rapt child, slack-jawed with attention.

You famously said that you should write a book that you don’t see on shelves, and that is just what I do. You didn’t get published until you were 39, and I didn’t until I was 38. You put the pen in my hand, and made me believe in myself, as a storyteller.

Your death last week was hard to take. I totally understand that you had been called home because you were done here, but I will miss you and your fantastic tales. Maybe I will see you in the next life. We can have coffee and talk books.

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Sincerely,

Sean

The Bluest Eye remains one of my favorite Toni Morrison books. Find out more about it here.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

IMG_4170

 

I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

Afro-Sean-Commission-Final copy

Explore Darkness To See Light

I highly recommend this book. Get a warm drink, find a sunny spot, and prepare to be compelled.

Short Story Scribe

by Joe Leonardi ©2018
 
To know I will never see the ocean again.
To never again be on the sea.
To never watch the sky light a new as sun rises from beneath.
To never watch the ocean sizzle as the sun kisses it goodnight.
 
To live a life without joy.
To live a life without meaning.
To live a life with the only goal being death.
 
To realize thirty years has passed.
To realize thirty years has been wasted.
To realize thirty years of a journey has led to nowhere.
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Even after being away from Northeastern Pennsylvania’s scarred mine fields for several years, I am sometimes still amazed by the genuine joy for life people here in South Florida have compared to the those back home. It is an…

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Go Ro Go — A Book Review

A glowing book review of my first attempt at young adult fiction.

Short Story Scribe

Glo Ro Saves Best Treasure Chest is told from the perspective of the titled character, Glorious Day Roberts, a high school student with an eye for detail that Sherlock Holmes would envy. What is great about this story is that Ms. Wright immerses us in the character of the teenager. Glo is precocious, but she is still a kid and we are reminded of this by the frequent tangents she goes off on – exactly as a normal teenage person does. As she is conducting her investigation, something catches her attention and Glo is momentarily off the case and onto a new train of thought. However, the case is always on her mind, and she is soon back on the trail, and the momentary reprieve actually gives her a clearer view.

Additionally, there is a great back story to Glo and her family (which I am not going to give…

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Flash Fiction: A Tamarind Tale

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A Tamarind Tale

By Sean C. Wright

1998

School wasn’t to start for another three days, but students had already moved into the dorms. And that’s how Will Krause and Sonia Martinez met. They were the only two using the dorm’s (A renovated Holiday Inn) swimming pool that blistering amber day in late August. The sky above was a soft-blue garden with baby’s breath clouds. William had been swimming in walking shorts because his trunks were still in a box in his dorm room…somewhere. Sonia had been sunning on one of the chairs in a red gingham one-piece. The white and scarlet checks were especially striking against her bronzed skin and onyx hair that tumbled passed her shoulders. Her smoldering appeal still beckoned even though her cleavage and midriff were covered.

“Hi,” William had said, rising out of the pool, dripping and smiling shyly. His German ancestry was obvious: six feet of ivory skin, splotched with carnation; yellow hair that dusted his shoulders. Puberty had barely tapped him. He was very thin at eighteen-and-a-half, like a stretched boy. The only weighty masculinity he possessed was a heavy brow over his cyan eyes.

Sonia had raised her sunglasses on top of her head and squinted at him. “Hi.” From then on, the conversation rolled like a well-tuned car. They introduced themselves, stated their majors, home towns. She was a Radio, Television, and Film major from Dallas; he was a Computer Science major from Houston. Will noticed Sonia had a dog tooth on the left side of her mouth when she smiled, which he found mad cute. That imperfection cooled her smoky Aztecan quality about ten degrees, made her attractiveness not so intimidating.

There had been mutual attraction that day at the pool, but as the semester got into full swing, the two stayed at friendship. Will answered Sonia’s computer questions, and she brought him back tamales and a huge bag of Mexican candy after Christmas break. The spicy and chewy tamarind candy was his favorite. She had also brought him chile rellenos sometimes whenever she returned home for the weekend. Will was appreciative yet envious. Sonia was so close to her culture, and Will had never even tried sauerkraut or worn lederhosen. The closest he’d come to imbibing his culture was drinking German beer.

Sonia had been walking Will to the door when it happened. Her roommate was at a Baptist retreat, so they had her dorm room to themselves that misty Saturday night. They kissed each other goodnight. But Will didn’t leave after that. They kissed again with fever, and began to undress each other. Sonia moaned in Spanglish; Will grunted softly. When it was over, they lay on Sonia’s narrow bed holding each other, and staring up at the ceiling.

“Wow,” Sonia sighed, “I didn’t plan on this happening tonight.”

“Me neither,” Will said, his heart still drumming in his thin chest, “But I’m glad it did.”

Sonia turned to him, smiled that imperfect smile that never failed to melt him down to his very hair follicles, and kissed his forehead and mouth. They then fell asleep in each others’ arms. For some reason, Will dreamed of being a boy again at an Easter egg hunt. When he opened the plastic eggs, there was tamarind candy inside.

Sonia gave Will a square cake for his nineteenth birthday, decorated to look like a computer disk. He took her to the movies, and blew all the money his folks sent him in care packages on snacks for them. She gave him conditioner that smelled of a tropical vacation to soften his long, yellow locks. He gave her hair accessories and key chains with flowers because she told him Latinas loved floras.

After being with her about six weeks, Will entered his dorm room one evening to find his roommate and his roommate’s running buddy sneering. Chad, his roommate, had spoken first. “Do you smell that?” he croaked, sniffing the air in evil exaggeration, “Smells like refried beans.” His friend snickered, unhooked one of his hands from the beer bottle he had been holding, waved Chad’s comment away, and retorted, “Naw. Smells like Mex-crement.” They then broke up laughing. Will had said nothing, but had turned on his heel and left the room with a reverberating door slam. He went walking around campus to cool off. Fucking Chad. He had nerve! Chad, who stepped out of skid-marked underwear, and left them right where he had removed them; sometimes for days. Chad, who popped his pimples, and left the bathroom mirror dotted with constellations of little pus buttons. Will didn’t come back to the room that night until he had completely squashed the urge to strangle Chad in his sleep.

Chad had apologized the next morning, blaming most of the ugliness on alcohol. “It’s just that my parents would flip if I brought home a Meskin.” But it had put a behemoth bug in Will’s ear. Even though his family worked with people of color, they were never invited to their home. Everyone in Will’s family was optic-white, and had married other optic-white people. Hell, there was hardly even a brunette or brown-eye in his family tree; it was dominated by blonds and red-heads, and sometimes strawberry blonds. What wouldhis parents say?

The following Friday night lived in Will’s memory like other terrible memories that you’re responsible for.

Like forgetting a loved one’s milestone birthday.

Like creating a fatal car accident because you ran a red light.

Like losing or breaking a prized possession because you were careless.

Will was stiff and laconic. “What’s wrong?” Sonia had asked. Her roommate was gone again, and they were sitting on her bed, watching Full House.

“Nothing,” he mumbled without looking at her.

She turned off the TV. “Will, look at me. What’s wrong?”

He still couldn’t. He looked down at his lap, spoke in a low tone. “I can’t do this. Let’s just be friends again.”

“What? Why?”

“I don’t know.”

“You do. Just tell me.” Sonia’s cracking voice was like sandpaper grating his heart.

“I really don’t. I just want to be friends again.”

Will was about to get off the bed and leave. Then whump! A soft, yet forceful impact knocked him sideways on the bed. Sonia had stood, grabbed a pillow, and knocked him in the side of the head with it. He had looked up at her tear-streaked face, slack-jawed. “Get out!” she half-hissed, half-growled. It was like a storm goddess had quietly slipped into that tight little room. Her teeth were bared, her brown skin was flushed, and her dark eyes were flashing. Will remembered how beautiful she looked in her fury, and considered recanting. But when Will didn’t move fast enough, she hit him with the pillow again, cursing and and sobbing in English and Spanish. Will caught one word: el Diablo. He left Sonia’s room silently, keeping his head low the whole time he walked back to his room, feeling wholly like the devil Sonia said he was.

The next month sans Sonia was slow and terrible. Some of the candy she had given him was still on his desk. The mango-smelling conditioner was in the shower, its bottle still half-full. Her rose-scented body mist seemed to stay in Will’s nostrils no matter where he was. Even though the choice had been his, Will hated his roommate Chad with hatred that seeped into all five senses. The hatred tasted of vinegar. It felt like fire ants biting his skin. It smelled of steaming dog crap. It looked like a haze of red every time he looked at that pimply, dingleberry-butt boy. It sounded of a piercing shriek that Chad would probably funnel from his mouth when Will kicked him in the balls a million times in his mind’s eye. Chad, sensing the tension, offered to order them a pizza one night. “No thanks,” Will growled and scowled. He and Chad rarely spoke after that.

When the longing bubbled over the top, Will called her.

“Hola. I mean, hello,” she had answered with carbonation in her voice.

“Sonia? It’s Will. Could I come over and talk?”

“Oh, not now. I’m on the other line. I’ll call you back.”

“Uh. Ok.”

Click.

Will sat holding the phone to his ear for a full thirty seconds before cradling it. She never did call back. And he never called her again.

Will saw Sonia a week later. He was on his way to class and she was walking in the direction of their dorm. With someone. The guy was slightly taller than her, muscular in a bull doggish way. It was a cold day, and they were hugged up together as they walked. She looked like a winter princess doll in a purple knit cap with a pom-pom on top and a matching scarf looped around her neck. The guy took a gloved hand, moved hair away from Sonia’s ear, and whispered something into it. She smiled and swatted at him playfully, showing that tooth that never failed to hook Will’s heart by all four ventricles. Sonia looked forward, and caught Will’s eye. “Hi, Will!” she called. There was no malice in her voice, simple happiness. Will could only smile tightly and nod. “’Zup, man?” her guy greeted him too. He exuded confidence, but not arrogance. Will was beyond words at that, too, and again could only nod.

He went into the building’s bathroom, and studied his reflection. He was pale as paper with flashing crimson on his cheeks, even though the light had tinted him hazel under its weak fluorescent glare. Was it the cold, or the encounter? Will figured both. He splashed warm water on his face, and trudged to class, his heart sick and sad. It was that way until they graduated: Will sometimes saw Sonia alone or with someone – in the TV room, walking across campus, in the student union. She always spoke; sometimes she approached him and chatted about safe things: the weather, her class load that semester. Will dated other girls here and there, but they never came close to Sonia’s lamb-like sweetness, sprinkled with exotic embers.

Will was two years out of college when he saw her on TV. It was a saccharin-cheesy sitcom about a group of young people, struggling to make ends meet while working at a pizza place in LA. Sonia’s character played a traditional Latina spit-fire. The zippy lines and laugh track had all seemed like background noise when she stepped on-screen. She had cut her hair into a choppy bob above her shoulders and had gotten her tooth fixed. It was her, but not her without that lovable imperfection. But Will had watched the whole show – only once – barely remembering what it was about.

2008

Will married a loud, big-boned woman. Barbara. She ran their house with an efficient hand, right down to scheduling all doctor’s appointments and filing their taxes. Will simply had to sit in the marriage’s back seat and let her drive. The only thing he resented was how nearly elephantine and flabby Barbara had grown after their son was born.

Will was in the checkout line at the supermarket one day when he saw Sonia again. She was on the cover of a women’s magazine, looking glossy-radiant and trim. ACTRESS SONIA MARTINEZ SPILLS HER BEST BEAUTY SECRETS, the cover said. Will set down the diapers and cereal and milk on the checkout line’s conveyor belt and picked up the magazine with unsteady hands. He bought it, paying for it separately because he didn’t want Barbara to see a woman’s magazine on the receipt with the other items.

Will smuggled the book into the house, half-way under the back of his shirt and halfway down his pants. He gave Barbara a quick peck on the cheek, headed straight to the bathroom, and locked the door behind him. Will undressed, picked up the magazine off the sink counter, and stared at Sonia’s sexy smirk. After a moment, he turned on the shower, and stepped into it with the book, his back to the hot spray. He didn’t want to get it wet. Will jumped when there was a thudding knock at the door. “Don’t be in there too long. Dinner is almost ready,” Barbara yelled through the bathroom door. “Shut up,” Will muttered, as he kept his eyes on the magazine’s slick cover while he rapidly stroked himself in the rising steam.

Sean C. Wright is the author of 8 books. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit https://seanarchy.wordpress.com.

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.

Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…

It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision.  The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.

Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!

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