by Laurie Stone

I was walking in woods with a friend. She said, “I hope you can get us back.” I didn’t know if I could get us back. We were looking for something to burn. We were going to take magic mushrooms and offer ourselves up to the irrational. We came to a stream and crossed it. On the other side was a house with a man and a dog. The man was exceedingly handsome and wearing a cowboy hat. I asked my friend if he was the type she would fall for. She said, “I think men like that won’t be attracted to me.” I thought everyone was attracted to her. We passed a clump of dried pods on sticks. They were ugly and beautiful and looked like the thing we should burn. On the way back, she spoke about her ex-boyfriend and said, “I was very turned on by him, but when I saw his films, I thought, ‘You are a man I want to strangle’.” After sex, they would look at each other and say, “Attraction is all we have.” I thought it sounded romantic. (More …)


by Laurie Stone

A stranger visited my mother’s apartment and said, “I live across the street. I have been watching you and your husband for twenty years, and I notice he’s gone. I can’t believe anything but death has separated you.” She pointed through my mother’s curtains to her building. She was small and wearing a navy pants suit and patent leather flats. My mother offered her tea and cried in the kitchen. Tiny leaves were budding on the bony branches of the bougainvillea on her terrace.

I was living in Columbus, Ohio on the top floor of the nondescript house where famous woman-hater James Thurber had lived. The house sat on a forlorn street, near two highways and a thinly-populated business zone. I worked in a circus, riding a unicycle and juggling clubs. I dreamed of lions and did not pay attention to safety instructions. (More …)