by Lisa M. Bradley
read by Roberto Suarez
“Sweet Sue,” Maz hissed, and I barely resisted an urge to jump into the bonfire. ‘Cause I knew that hiss from his habit of scrolling through smut in my presence, never mind my pleas, and I knew exactly what (or who) had prompted this particular sexhalation.
She was a thimbleful of darkness lurking under a mesquite tree at the party. All’a five-feet tall and maybe 90 pounds if you threw her in a pool—which would’ve, incidentally, accounted for the lemon-suck look on her face. A minute earlier, I’d glanced up from the bonfire, its flames weirded by the plastic bottles that Marcos, our host, had tossed in to melt, and I’d seen the green-tinsel in her black hair, those Hello Kitty combat boots, and I’d known, absolutely known, Maz would zero in on the girl. She was a stranger, and she had a style most of the girls on Five Mile Line didn’t bother with: sort of “pop-punk princess caught in heroin-related downward spiral,” if I had to put a name to it.
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It was first published in Lisa’s first short fiction and poetry collection, The Haunted Girl, available on Amazon or direct from the publisher, Aqueduct Press.
Forged in the scalding heat of South Texas, Lisa M. Bradley now lives in Iowa with her spouse, child, and two cats. More of her imaginings, always inflected by her Latina heritage, are forthcoming in Solarpunk Press, Strange Horizons, and the Sunvault anthology. Her collection of short fiction and poetry is The Haunted Girl (Aqueduct Press). For more, follow her on Twitter (@cafenowhere) or visit her website: www.lisambradley.com.
Roberto Suarez is a monthly supporter of all Escape Artist Productions and has had the privilege of narrating stories for PodCastle, PseudoPod, and Escape Pod. He is the co-host and producer of “A Pod of Casts: The Game of Thrones Podcast” and the upcoming “Radio Westworld,” a podcast dedicated to HBO’s latest sci-fi series. You can find Roberto on the web at robertosuarez.me, or on Twitter @PuertoGeekan.