*

It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Portland today (Yes, you read that right. I said ‘sunny’!). I’m working on a new story, a fantasy/sci-fi/cross genre kind of thingy about cherries. Here’s a bit of the opening scene (total rough draft), just because I’m having fun with it:

Clark has come with his cherries again. Carrying them in his ungloved hands, their skins touching his skin.

I take them delicately and without flinching, as I have been taught, my bare palms cupped for his offering, his dark red fruits tumbling into my hands. They are too much, too visceral, their blooded curves beckoning my tongue in a way that is not for polite company. Not even polite, paid company.

“Thank you, Clark,” I say, once they are all in my hands. He likes it when we address him by first name. Proper address — last, home, first — makes his ruddy cheeks go more red and plump, like his cherries. Smind Kaja Meira says this means he is embarrassed or angered. So we must never call him Tupelo Oklahama Clark, only ever Clark, and we must let him dump his cherries into the bowl of our cupped hands until it overflows, and we must not show our own embarrassment if we can help it.

“My pleasure, Sallie Kaja Arana,” he says. The words come off his tongue slow and careful, and I know he has worked hard to memorize my whole name, even if he doesn’t have the accents right.

“Just Arana,” I say. “If it pleases you.”

“It does,” he says. And then like always, as if he’s tasting my name on his mouth, a sound that makes shiver and flush. “Arana.”

He is — I think — a pretty man, although I don’t know if that’s true by his own people’s standards. Big-bellied in a way that signifies his fullness, his fecundity. Pale, barely pinkened skin that shows he spends much time in the common spaces. He wears many clothes, his outfit cuts across him in funny places, belts at waist and ankle — but all of that serves to show more of his girth and weight, and perhaps that is the purpose.

“Please make yourself at home,” I say.

**

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

**

PS — image from this artist. yum.

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