This week marks the end of Six Sentence Sunday – People I Know November, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to hold an indefinite hiatus in the SSS posts. Suggestions for an alternative regular Sunday theme are welcome.
Last week’s celebrity six sentences came from Kirstyn McDermott’s debut novel, Madigan Mine. At the first SuperNOVA crit meeting I attended, I sat across the table from Kirstyn. I made the mistake of reaching across the table for some crackers and cheese. She leaned over, brandished her tattoos (stylised raven on one arm, a quill pen dripping with blood on the other, if I remember correctly) and said with an evil grin that newcomers were NOT allowed to eat at their first meeting. I was already intimidated by her writing pedigree, and that just sealed the deal; I was officially, and remain to this day, afraid of her.
It’s THAT time of year, so what better way to end the Six Sentence Sunday posts for 2011 than with a Christmas-themed story? This week’s excerpt is from the beginning of Lapp Dancing, which was first published in 2006 in a UK online literary magazine, of all places. Acceptance came along with payment of £100, which converted to around 280 New Zealand dollars, the most I’d ever received for a story, and which made for an extra-jolly Christmas in the McBride household that year. A couple of years later it won the Spec The Halls short story contest.
I needed to disappear for a while. Luckily Sneaky Pete owed me a favour, and he’s the best “disappearer” in the business, which is how I ended up working for Layla, an anorexic chain-smoking dwarf with a penchant for wearing green. She owned a bar in Lapland, where I was to spend part of an Arctic winter pulling pints and fending off advances from drunken Finnish lumberjacks.
I’d just got word from Pete that it was safe for me to go home. A few more weeks at Layla’s, and I’d have enough money for my airfare. It was a quiet night in the bar, and I was fantasizing about barbeques at the beach, margaritas by the pool and tanned men in shorts, when in he walked.
And now for something completely different…
She dreamed what Luci dreamed, a bright stream of consciousness and tilted colours layered over a core of angry noise, a churning, screaming, black-white ball of nothing. Pulling back, Solace reached down through Luci’s dream-heart, closed her fingers around the ball and squeezed. It fought her grip like a live thing, but Solace was stubborn, making her fist tighter and tighter until the screaming stopped, until the ball was nothing but a hard, stormy marble in the circle of her hand. Raising it to her lips, she kissed the glassy surface, watching as a ripple of warm blue was revealed through the churning gray. Smiling, she found a nearby box, broke the lock and tipped out a river of multi-coloured marbles, laughing as they rolled and bounced like a flock of spherical parrots. Into this river she tipped her own creation, watching as it was borne away on the tide.