Issue Twenty (July 2010)
Light filled the convention centre. It poured in through multicolored glass, dodged the latticed rafters, and shone down on the Chartreuse Monster. Rough fins jutted down at strange angles from the Monster’s body. Bristly ridges shadowed its inanimate eyes and profuse antennae stuck out over the bulging, fang-filled mouth. Indrani tried to ignore it, but willpower and attention span shrank as her sleep debt grew, and the monster’s presence nagged at her.
Deep in the bowels of the Toys-R-We in a space which smells of plastic and stale air conditioning, the Barbie aisle’s occupants are plotting, fomenting conquest. They’ve had their painted eyes on the adjacent aisles, occupied respectively by war toys and Legos, for some time now.
I was eight when my sister Ceci turned fifteen, and that meant a big Quinceañera celebration—food, dancing, piñatas, the whole thing—but it also meant three hours of church. She had her Quinceañera ceremony at St. Mark’s Catholic Church. I kept wondering how long it was going to go for, and I also thought about what I had learned that day in school, how there used to be other kinds of priests back in Mexico, priests that wore big plumed feathers and lived in huge pyramids.
“California may not be far enough,” said mom, in the tone she always used just before a panic attack.
The noon sky had been flickering for several minutes, like a faulty incandescent light bulb. But I wasn’t perturbed by these minor celestial fluctuations, and I mildly reacted to the possibility that the sun over our Maryland estate might vanish forever, or that my quaint notions of reality would implode into quantum chaos. Then the earth moaned.