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Today's Story by Caitlin Myer

It didn’t look like so much when I knew it was everything he had.

Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 30

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first serialized novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remainscan be found in full here

Our current novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on the life of Alice Lott, a twelve-year-old girl  who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her junior high school counselor. 

Find earlier chapters in Hoodoo here.

Chapter 30

Mrs. D, the Associate Director of the Academy, sat back in her chair and looked at me, her chin moving like she was chewing up her words before speaking.

“Have you been having trouble, Alice?”

I hadn’t been in her office since the day I sat here with Dad while he filled out all the paperwork for me to be accepted into the program. I tried to send a look right back at her, but I don’t know if it worked. I’d been sluffing too many classes; it was starting to get noticed. I couldn’t even fake I was sick, the dorm chaperone would be glad to tell her I wasn’t in my room during class time.

I shrugged.

“You’re a very gifted dancer, but a professional career in dance requires more than talent. It requires commitment. I’m frankly surprised to see this change in you.”

I tried to focus on what she was saying, but my mind kept sliding away to Bobby, Bobby and his lips on mine, Bobby and his hand drawing up the inside of my thigh, the calluses on his skin leaving red tracks behind that turn white and fade, Bobby’s face between my breasts, his stubble scraping against me until I pulled him closer, made him scrape harder and harder, I wanted him to leave marks on my body that I’d have to hide from my roommate. I wanted him to bite and scratch and rub me raw, and it still wasn’t enough. I wanted him to love me more than life, more than anything else in the world. I wanted him to crawl to me on his knees and lay roses at my feet. I didn’t know I could want so much, could want to suck out his soul from his lips and keep him burning inside me every moment.

Mrs. D looked so tiny behind her desk, I had to squint to hear her at all. She was saying I could get myself together over the break, and we’d see how I did in the summer session. She was saying they’d have to see if I could stay in the program.

I straightened up in my chair. She was talking about kicking me out. They wanted to take away my home, my whole reason for being. Alice kicked out, sent back to Lemuel High in disgrace and that big empty house on the hill, Mom gone and Denny gone, and nothing much there for me.

This shouldn’t have been a surprise. I knew it was coming. Every class I missed, I felt a knot of fear tighten in my stomach, but Bobby was more real to me than that. Even now, looking back at Mrs. D across miles of desk, I couldn’t quite bring it to life. How could I be on a knife-edge at the Academy? My brain refused to recognize the possibility, even while my arms and legs went numb.


Bobby folded himself into the passenger seat of his Corolla while I scooched in behind the steering wheel. Driving lesson number one, and my hands were shaking. I hadn’t told him yet about my meeting with Mrs. D. I didn’t really know what I’d say, anyway. It was my last chance to see Bobby before the summer break, and it would be two whole weeks without him, without his voice in my ear, without his touch.

There were three pedals down in the foot well, and I didn’t really know what to do with the gear shift. My legs were longer than his, my knees knocking against the wheel. I reached down to shift the seat, but it wouldn’t give. I twisted around in the seat to see what was stopping it, and I saw the back of his car was packed with stuff. I’d seen it before and thought he just kept crap in his car, but now I could see it was stacked, organized, and it wasn’t stuff you normally keep in a car. There was a pillow and a blanket, stacks of books in the foot wells, what looked like clothes folded up on the seats, toilet paper, a shaving kit, some records and maybe fifty or more cassette tapes, more books, notebooks, letters, bills, a bottle of aspirin.

“What’s all this stuff about? It looks like you’re moving, or something.”

“Um, well,” he fell back into his seat, and looked at his hands, “it isn’t really important to me, where I live. I’ve been more or less living out of my car. I shower at the YMCA, and I don’t need much, so. Not much point, you know?”

I looked again at everything piled, sort of neatly, in the back seats. It didn’t look like so much when I knew it was everything he had. He was like one of those prophets in the Bible. Or a hermit or a saint. This car was like the caves those guys lived in, and they gave up all their worldly possessions, too.

The edge of a newspaper clipping stuck out of one book, something familiar about it, Bobby was stroking my leg but I brushed him off and reached back, tugged lightly at it, it slid out to show a picture of me, a newspaper photo from a Nutcracker performance at Wasatch Ballet, here in Salt Lake. Bobby reddened fiercely. I floated the picture onto the top of the pile, me in my harem pants, back arched, arms tented above my head, the choreographer’s idea of an “Arabian” pose, I hadn’t got past that dance, every year I was cast in the same role, like my skin and curly dark hair made me incapable of anything else.

“You knew I was here?”

Bobby didn’t say anything, the blood swirling behind his skin.

“How long?”

“I, ah.” He put his hands between his knees, his head down, like he was in church, pretending to pray. He took a breath. “I followed you here. Not quite a year after you left. I found out where you were, and I wanted to be here. I wanted to be near you.”

My head felt like a balloon, ready to detach from my body and float away.

“What else did I have?”

I almost couldn’t breathe. He’d given up everything for me. He’d followed me to Salt Lake, and lived like a saint. A saint in the Church of Alice. It was too much, too much to ask of me. But, all the same. I would give him anything, anything he asked. Just ask me, Bobby, it’s yours. Ask me, ask me, ask me.


Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California.  Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle. 

Read more stories by Caitlin Myer


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