OCOTILLO – Barbara Ann Norris

I made up my mind on the last boogie oogie oogie. There wasn’t going to be any segue into love to love you baby.

The stage lights blinded me to two thousand Dallas socialites circling white-linen-draped tables like frogs on lily pads floating in the darkness. I cooed into the microphone in my breathy, imitation of Marilyn singing to Jack Kennedy. “Don’t go away. We’ll be right back.”

Larry’s head jerked up like he’d just been lassoed, but his fingers kept on racing up and down the keyboard. He launched into the theme song from Miami Vice and I hotfooted it to the dressing room.

I grabbed my canvas bag and took off running down the atrium of the Anatole Hotel in my sparkly butt-hugging spandex dress, past the Zen reflection pool littered with pennies for wishes and the boutiques for people who already have everything they ever wanted and more. A group of Asian tourists milled around at the front desk taking selfies with their smartphones. They looked lost and jet lagged and amazed to be in the land of JR Ewing. A grinning black guy in a Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band uniform held the gigantic glass door open and waved me through.

Out on the portico, I tore off the platinum Afro and aimed for the trash. My matted, dirty-blonde hair sprung free of the bobby pins. The wig narrowly missed Sergeant Pepper, who picked it up and raised it to hail a taxi. In under a minute, I was in the back seat hollering at the driver. “Go!”


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FANNING THE FLAME – Becky Jo Gesteland

YellowstonesmokeIn 1987 I’d moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to pursue a master’s degree in English. While there, I received my first “C” from a tiny little man who taught the 18th century novel. We read Clarissa—1500-odd pages of epistolary novel—which tells the story of a man’s seduction and eventual rape of a young woman. How could I write a decent paper about such a book? I revised the paper, pulled a “B,” and was grateful to get out of the 18th century alive.
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