complicated women (chapter 5)
(photo by lucyshena on flickr

On her way down the hallway toward her apartment she knocks on Wayne’s door. He pokes his head out as she is turning her key.

“Hey! How’d it go?”

“You’ll never look at me the same after I tell you.”

“Give me a minute. I’ll be right over.”

The air inside her apartment is stale.  She pulls the windows open to free the exhalations from the furniture’s previous owners.   Almost everything she owns was handed down, bought at a dollar store, or rescued from a dumpster.  The floral lamps are tacky and the Persian rug is piebald and stained, but she finds origin of those stains intriguing:  Doesn’t that one look like a dinosaur footprint?  Could that spot be anything but blood?  The mammoth sofa and velvet brocade curtains were left behind by the previous tenant who was an assistant set designer with access to a warehouse full of theatrical detritus.  In the kitchen, no plate or fork or glass matches another.  Drew likes to think the décor of her apartment is eclectic; full of creative impulses and souvenirs and odd bits that add up to hard evidence of an interesting, complicated character.

Her mother always used to say a woman ought to be complicated.  She said it with a Mae West accent.  From her, Drew inherited the archaic Mac Plus with two internal megabytes that sits on the desk in front of the mirror.  It’s probably a collector’s item. She can’t play games or go online but it works just fine for writing if she saves to a floppy disc.  If she turns it on, then goes off to take a shower or cook a meal and it’s usually warmed up and ready by the time she’s done.

The enormous maple bookcase is the only thing of which Drew feels truly proud.  She found it at an antique store in Iowa City and paid a lot of money to have it shipped to L.A.  It separates living from sleeping in her studio and holds every book she’s read since starting college, a grand display of her intellectual journey:  all canonical, mostly fiction, favoring the Classic, Gothic, Romantic, and 19th century.  There’s a section of poetry, one shelf for biography, and a small cluster of theory.  She hasn’t read a book since graduation, unless you count the stack of how-to-write-a-screenplay paperbacks which also works as a bedside table.

Drew is tweezing her eyebrows when Wayne comes in.  Without turning around she tells him, “Mae Beacon gave me two hundred dollars cash. No, wait–two eighty.  Let’s go shopping.”

“Two eighty?”  Wayne bleats. “For what?  Did you do the dishes?   Did you rub her feet? “

“For my invaluable insight. Guess the education’s finally paying off.”

“Hell, I’d lick her feet for $200.”  He throws himself down on the sofa; a wheeze of dust wafts up.  “I’d do it for fifty!  Tell her I have a Ph.D. in Postmodern Lit. “

“You should’ve seen her.  She was naked by the pool.”

“What am I saying?  I’d pay her.  Naked?”

“Stark, raving naked.”

“Tell me every detail.“



I have reserved the rest of this chapter for interested readers, agents, and publishers.  If that’s you, contact me at  


About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. gail

    hey, that was good. over much too fast. are you sure that was a whole chapter?

  2. I felt the same way! It was so good and easy in that way where you kinda forget you’re reading, that I was surprised when it ended. I’m up much too late tonight, so I’ll have to get to the next chapter on Friday when I’m free. I’m hooked.

  3. I am very happy you liked it. I think most readers are experiencing a mild awkwardness/frustration at not being able to flip to the next page right away. The other day, my computer was down and I actually had time to lie in bed and read half a book in one setting. I love that! My favorite way to read a book– in one gulp! I never get to do that anymore!

  4. Okay – chapter 2&4 then 3B 3A 5 and 1
    Five was slow for me but I understood it.
    Anything else is probably subject bias. I
    want that dandaline though, 🙂

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