he needs me (chapter 27, part 1)

(image courtesy Jeff Soderquist)

It was Isabelle’s turn in writing group this week.  She brought the final scene of her epic Greek erotic adventure in which all the characters come together for a final glorious orgy in the underworld, the penultimate happy ending.  But Isabelle is isn’t just a dirty-talker; she’s an imaginative wordsmith with an original style and this scene included several surprising and detailed vignettes written with such an inventive technique and a gourmet appreciation that by the end of the meeting, every cheek was flushed.  Kinko the teenager couldn’t stop giggling and even Karen squirmed in her seat.  

After group, Drew and Wayne walk two blocks to a neighborhood cocktail bar for a drink.  It has an old neon sign and bars over the windows and naughahyde booths.  9:30 on a Thursday night and the clientele consists of three old guys perched at the bar like greasy pigeons and a sleazy-looking couple slouched in a booth.  This is not the kind of bar you go to if you’re looking to get laid. 

That’s what Wayne whispers in Drew’s ear as they slide into the two seats at the foot of the L shaped bar.  She laughs.  They have seen so little of each other these last few months that they’re acting like strangers–smiling too hard, telling long stories about mundane events, insisting on paying for this round or the next one for sure and it takes about three drinks before Drew loosens up.  She doesn’t even notice that he’s not keeping up with her, is still sipping his dry three-olived martini while she, who never knows what to order, has had a gin and tonic, one bourbon and coke, and now sips something the bartender recommended, pink stuff from a tall glass.  The room is starting to buzz.  Drew gapes at Wayne and grips the vinyl edge of the bar with both hands.  “So what are you going to do?  Is he going to live with you forever?”

Wayne shakes his head.  “I don’t know.”

“Where does he sleep?”

“On the sofa.”

 “Is he cute?”

“If you like big eyes and soft skin.”

Drew narrows her eyes.  “You do.  You do like big eyes and soft skin.”


A large portion of this chapter has been deleted.

To read more, contact me and we can discuss publication. (!)


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. are you not posting on facebook anymore?

  2. Oh, I like this. A lot.

  3. I’ve really liked these last couple chapter segments, Anna. You really have a way of pulling us in. Still not sure about Vic; I thought at first he was some sort of nasty criminal or total user, but am leaning more towards him being some lost guy who’s in love with Wayne.

    I love the word naughahyde–what is it, fake leather or something? It’s not even in the unabridged dictionary that my mom gave me one Christmas (because I asked for it), that I mostly use on a chair to prop my feet up on to trim my toenails. It (naugahyde) makes me think of ’70s mobile homes, 10X60s with dark paneling, almost no lights, 7 foot ceilings, and shag rugs. Or roadside diners with buzzing signs and a blue smoke haze and coke in a fat glass that you blow bubbles in, and gigantic french fries and greasy cheeseburgers. Or “dive” bars, I guess.

    • Thanks for continuing on with it Kevin; not many have had the stamina!

      Naughahyde is a fancy word for vinyl but I think more evocative of ALL the things you mention above. It’s probably capitalized– I think it’s a copyrighted product. It’s in my OED. But I’m sure it’s old-fashioned.

      An artificial material designed to resemble leather, made from fabric coated with rubber or vinyl resin.

      I’m just a dive-bar kind of girl, I guess.

      • Obscure Like the word Bakelite
        it’s an early form of resin plastic
        – now only used in some forms of
        electronics – I saw pictures of an
        old abandoned plant that once
        made the stuff and was intrigued.
        Now I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
        Strange the things that catch
        our attention.

  4. 2&4&12B&24 9 26B 18A 14B 22 12A 18B 26A 20B&7&16A&16B
    14A 15A&15B 11 23C 3B 3A 19A&19B13&27A&23A&23B&21A&
    21B 20A 6 10 21C 25A&25B&8&17A&17B&5&1 – Everone’s falling
    for every body – kinda makes since – wonder how it will end?

  5. By the way, cue the “Twilight Zone” theme: I was looking through bookshelves to find my copy of “The Pearl” to help answer a comment, when I found a book I didn’t remember having, which you may have heard of: a paperback of “The Awakening.” I’m sure I picked it up at a library sale. I suppose that if I picked it up after starting to read your book, it’s not so eerie, but I’d like to think it’s one of those times when I picked up a book I’d never heard of, thought: “This looks good; I’ll throw it in the bag” (bag of used books for 2 bucks), then took it home and forgot I had it, then later “ran into you” and your book about the movie of it. In any case, now I have it, and am pretty sure what my next read will be.

  6. Ha, going AWOL and no-one noticing and a few days back I read An Abduction by Tessa Hadley in The New Yorker…

    • I have a stack of New Yorkers waiting for my attention. Actually, many large piles. Every time I look at them I feel guilty. I should just get real and recycle, but I can’t!!!

      • There’s a short-story that could be written about unread New Yorkers. Probably it is already published in the New Yorker, in a 1997 issue, and most of whom New Yorker subscribers have still to get round to reading it…

  7. I am seeing a Part 3 for this Chapter on the main index page but not a Part 2…

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