Welcome to echos & visions! This is the place to read my new stories, poetry and essays and find out when and where they'll be published. There are also links to my favorite sites, book reviews, pictures, interviews and other bits and pieces I hope you will enjoy. MaryAnne
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Connotations Press Publishes "Payback" and "We Sustain"
She’d tried hard
not to scream when he’d put his cigar out on the exact spot on her upper left
arm where her childhood smallpox vaccine scar had faded to a pale, carrot-slice
shaped mark. But when she heard somebody
shrieking like the victim in a slasher film, she figured it must be her. She knew not to fight him.
He’d said she was
like a daughter to him. She’d known
better. Where his money was concerned, she
was just another flunky. She’d skimmed
miniscule amounts over the years, calling it her retirement fund, thinking he’d
never notice. Almost twenty years of
delivering cash to be laundered. Easier
when she was still young, harrowing the last ten years. All those flights back and forth. Monaco,
the Caymans, Bermuda and more recently Zug,
population twenty-six thousand, in the Swiss Alps. Zug, for Christ’s sake.
he’d greeted her with a hug and a drink, then handed her a pink slip of paper
with the exact amount she’d taken from him.
A “While you were out” note. The number
was correct to the penny. No use
pretending she didn’t know what it was.
She told him she’d have the money for him in two days. He’d kissed her arm with the lit cigar to
remind her he wasn’t expecting any less than the exact amount and it had better
be on time.
The funniest part
of the whole deal was she had most of it in a briefcase in the trunk of her car. She’d already made up her mind she’d never
give it to him. And now, it was crystal clear
he’d never let her live long enough to spend a dime of it.
She was so damn
tired. Getting too old for this shit. She walked out the front door of his
brownstone to her car, popped the trunk and pulled the .38 Special from under
the spare tire cover. She grabbed the
briefcase and took a seat on his front steps.
by MaryAnne Kolton
hair, long linen skirt, white shirt and oversized sunglasses, she stood out in
the crush of starving people. Another
international celebrity bringing an entourage of paparazzi, into the blistering desert sun. Hoping to get the rest of the world to pay
attention, however scant, to the scenes of death in Somalia.
As she walked
through the heat scorched village, touching a head here and a hand there, she
thought of her own son. Plump, healthy,
with skin like ripe peaches safe at home in the care of his father and
nanny. So few with so much and so many
with so little, she thought not for the first time.
Where is the God
that sorts things out this way? What was
He doing? She was here attempting to
draw the eyes of the world to this catastrophic reality of decimation. Hard to maintain one’s faith in this arid,
dusty place where the sounds of happy, carefree little ones are replaced with
moans, murmurs and the silence of starvation.
Even the mothers of these children cannot summon the energy necessary to
wail and keen and mourn the passing of their boys and girls. Many are barely alive themselves having
walked for days in sweltering temperatures without food or water to get here.
The flies are
everywhere. Flitting across staring
eyes, crawling into open mouths and up noses.
Buzzing, swarming, anticipating the feast to come.
She was being led
to a tent clinic. Inside, a few good
people doing what they could to help.
Feeding resistant skeletal faces a life saving paste, hydrating,
holding, rocking. For many it’s too
late. She’d have to convince her husband
and others to donate more money. What
else could she do?
A tiny girl pulled
again and again at her skirt and she sat to take the child on her lap. The little one rested her head on the woman’s
chest. Without thinking, the famous
woman opened her shirt and gave the baby her breast. She had milk.
She would give them milk.