Saturday, September 20, 2014


i was at a party at the kardashian's beach house. there was no ocean view from any vantage point and the mansion itself was 'shabby chic' to the point of crumbling. everything was whitewash over peeling paint and even the banisters were loose. i'd arrived mostly on time since it was a late lunch indoor/outdoor gathering but EVERYONE else was late which immediately made it excruciating since i had to interface one on one with each kardashian. i knew from previous experience that it would be nothing but painfully vapid chatter, artificially cheery posturing to the point of nausea and a display of excessive consumerism that would ultimately leave me with a hopelessness for the human race. i plastered my impenetrable work face on and moved among them like a wolf in sheep's clothing. after an hour or so the other guests started to arrive. i thought it would bring me relief, but it was only wave after wave of expensively dressed sycophants. at that point i knew i couldn't even have a glass of wine because i had to start planning my escape. the house began to fill. everyone was loud- not from unbridled joy, but from trying to grab attention. i felt my brain sliding out of my ears. i started to migrate room to room with my fake smile and untouched wine glass so people would see me and think that i was still there as i sped away down the hill. i finally made my way full circle and wound up in khloe's room. she was drunk and kept putting her face too close to mine as she was talking. i examined her veneers as she spoke to me and marveled at how poorly they were done. i could also see the faint scars of her nostril reduction and the mask-like effect of the juvederm pumped into her lips and cheeks. she looked like a young monster to me. when she turned her attention to someone else for a moment, i put down my wine glass and started down the steps. everyone gasped and it stopped me in my tracks. i looked down and the stairs just stopped with a 20 foot drop to a deck below. khloe said, 'oh no! you almost died! use the other stairs!'. i held tightly to the rickety railing, carefully turned around and made my way back up. word of my near death spread through the house like wild fire. soon i found myself in the out-dated media room smashed onto the couch with bruce and several other people. he was speaking with a serious quality to his voice but made no mention of blocking off the stairway so someone else didn't actually accidentally die. simon kept putting his arm around me and i kept sliding out of it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the church

the water was rising but they would not move into the church because it was 'holy'. i tried to convince them that no deity lived in the long-abandoned hilltop stone building, but they would not be convinced. i hired locals from another village to help me 'de-church' the place. we ripped out the pews, used some of them as seating and turned the rest into raw stock to create walls and bunk-beds. i somehow wound up with white and orange paint which i applied in large color blocks. when i was finished it not only looked like a cheery scandinavian preschool but was big enough to safely and comfortably accommodate all. i brought the villagers up the to the sturdy stone building on the hilltop but they would not even step inside the door. they clicked their tongues in disapproval, crossed themselves and backed away with mumbled prayers falling from their lips. they turned as a body away from the church and snaked down the muddy path toward their ramshackle hovels. i felt so furious at their ignorance but the chattering teeth and weak cries of the children echoed in my ears. i bought up every gypsy wagon within a hundred miles so they could at least move from the rising waters. one by one, we filled the caravans with their shabby belongings, exhausted children and enough food for at least a week. i made simple maps that described a route to safety and handed them out to one and all. one by one the caravans followed each other into the rising waters as they moved along the paths they had always moved along. one by one the caravans lost their footing, floated for a short while and then tipped over into the icy rushing water.

i did not realize for many minutes that i was crying.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

not trans

i was born into a community of transgendered people. no one identified according to genitalia and in fact it was expected that at some point shortly after puberty each individual would 'discover' their 'true' gender after some sort of vision quest. i knew i didn't fit in because from my earliest memory i had no desire to be other than what i was, but my friends and my family were lovely and so entrenched in the colorful and joyful rituals attached to 'coming out' that i simply fell silent on the issue and let them assume i was nothing more than a late bloomer. as my teen years passed i would occasionally feel my heart and stomach flutter when i met a special boy only to have that flutter drop into a dull thud once he transitioned. i knew without a doubt that i was 'straight' and there was nothing i could do to change it.

i found myself being ushered into a marriage. my bride/groom was a perfectly lovely person but i felt absolutely nothing for him/her. i felt worried that i would ruin the hopes and dreams of the person i was betrothed to once it was known that i was not transgendered and so i began to give voice to the fact that i did not want to be married. everyone kept assuring me that it was just nerves and as soon as i received my 'special package' all would be as it should. finally the wedding day arrived and that morning with great ceremony and smiles all around i was handed 'the package'. as i looked at the bundle in my hands i thought, 'this is it- here is the thing that will put my questions to rest and let me finally look at the world the way everyone else does'. i untied the cord, unfolded the tissue paper and saw in my hand a vaguely phallic hand sewn leather pouch. i opened the flap and found it contained nothing more than a 'new age' potpourri of sage, rosemary, some glass beads and a couple of quartz crystals. i closed my eyes, placed the pouch on the table and said, 'i am so sorry, this is not who i am or what i want.' everyone began to cry. i was filled with sadness and simultaneously flooded with relief. i walked out of the room and into a world where i was a stranger. i felt an unfamiliar comfort.

Monday, September 1, 2014


the costume house was huge and dark. there were 7 floors, i needed something from each one and the freight elevator was wheezing, ancient and seemed to be moving in actual slow motion. i could feel my body flooding with stress hormones as i checked my phone for the time- as usual there was not enough to do what had to be done. i stood still. watched the numbered floor indicators light up lazily one after the other and organized my mind while i made a conscious effort to unclench my jaw. to my left there were period stockings hanging in a dense tangle at eye level. i turned my eyes up to check the crawling numbers above the elevator and then immediately back at the stockings. recognition had pinged in my brain and i realized the writing pinned to some of the stockings was my own. how could that be? i was in texas in a house i had never visited, right? i shoved my arm into the curled vines of dead silk and grabbed several tags pulling them close so i could read them in the dim light. yes, yes and yes...all my writing. my head started to spin. where was i again? texas, yes. so how in the world- just then a voice behind me said, 'it is your writing, shandra.' i jerked my head toward the voice and saw luellyn staring at me with the same crazy glen close fatal attraction expression that had kept me away from her for years and years. suddenly i felt trapped. the giant warehouse felt like the inside of an iron maiden. i felt the muscles in my jaw snap back into bands of steel. i glued my eyes to the amber lights above the freight elevator and wondered if i would ever feel relaxed and human again.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

the endless struggle

she seemed to know me and it was awkward because i did not recognize her at all. she began to reference past projects and people that were familiar to me but i could not fit her face into any of them. when i stepped into the elevator she followed me and kept talking. she peppered me with updates and information and seemed to know that i had been working on location. i examined her features and mannerisms as she spoke and tried to extract any vague recollection but it was futile. someone passed in the hall and even said her name as she stepped into the elevator behind me but it only sounded like a dull thud to my ears. i suddenly realized that all her chatter had distracted me from the simple task of remembering my floor and i stepped off with her to get my bearings again. i then found myself being ushered through her project. room after room packed full of the best and the brightest all brainstorming each facet of the job. i recognized almost everyone and realized the magnitude and intensity of the project was simply more than i wanted to take on. she kept saying, 'so, when are you coming on board?' i told her i hadn't wrapped out yet and most probably needed a breather before i dove into something so intense.

i finally shook her and as i made my way to my room i found myself in a boxing match between my need for immediate sleep and what it would mean in the long term to turn away this level of work.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

the spy

she looked like louise brooks, wore a black and white toile cheongsam made of linen, strappy pumps from the 20's and smoked an unfiltered cigarette from a cocktail length ivory holder. she was taller than most of the men in the room and stood alone near the champagne glass pyramid. her reputation was that of an outspoken atheist and there were whispers that she was a spy.

i could tell she was memorizing faces and who spoke with who. i wondered who she worked for and if my face was on her radar.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

new baby

she had new baby and had just purchased her 2nd house. she insisted she wanted to come along with me to do a bit of fancy shopping and have lunch even though she was in the middle of a move. when i opened the door i was surprised to see her without the baby. when i asked her about it she said, 'it's fine. it's asleep in the car-seat at the house. it will never even know i'm gone.' i looked at her closely and clocked simmering contempt. i knew her man was out of town on business and she didn't have any help that day. i resisted the urge to inquire any further and collected my things. as we walked in the intentionally charming and eclectic shopping district, her speech and behavior struck me as manic. every window held magnets that drew out her 'oooohs! and 'aaaaahhhs!' she giggled and chatted endlessly about nothing. she flipped her hair and grinned coquettishly at men that passed. any time i obliquely broached a topic that might lead us into a domestic conversation she quickly changed the subject and i saw shards of glass glint in her eyes. i began to suspect that she had killed her baby. i wrestled with myself and wondered if i should take some action. i decided to observe.

the excursion went on much longer than originally planned and as the hours walked by i pictured her tiny infant strapped in an upright position mewing like a weak kitten as it baked to death in some undisclosed location. when she suggested i drop her at her new place i agreed, even though i fully expected to meet some horror there.

she opened the door to her swanky loft and i saw that it was swarming with her female relatives- sisters, aunts, mother. all were abuzz in service of the infant- which was alive, pink and contentedly asleep. she blew past the baby without a glance and insisted that she walk me through the place. visually, it was stunning- modern, clean, light and airy. but as i walked through the rooms i could feel a slight bounce in the floor and it felt hollow under my feet. my eye traveled over the joins in the walls and windows and indeed everything was 'off'. it was as though i was walking through a hastily constructed film set.

after the tour, we exchanged superficial pleasantries and i made my exit.