First Published in Asimov's Science Fiction, June, 2004.
n she reached for the salt box and poured salt onto the sugar. She squirted soap onto the pile and then rubbed her hands together. "I could buy some fancy exfoliating cream but this works just as good." She pointed with her chin at my hands. "Give them a shake and bring them here."
I wanted to ask her about Kate's marriage plans, but when she took my hands in hers, I forgot the question. I'd never felt anything quite like it; the irritating scratch of the grit was offset by the sensual slide of our soapy fingers. Pleasure with just the right touch of pain -- something I'd certainly be telling Sharifa about, if Sharifa and I were talking. My hands tingled for almost an hour afterward.
Noreen poured another bowl of water and I rinsed. "Why would getting married make Kate want to quit?" I asked.
"I don't know. Something to do with her church?" Noreen patted me dry with a threadbare towel. "She went over to the Christers last year. Maybe Jesus don't like married women giving backrubs. Or mayb
Horrible. I made it through only a few paragraphs before hanging it up. Bad language, terrible morality, and dark.
I wouldn't call this incomplete -- it's kind of hard-boiled, and in that way it feels kind of telegraphed, or like the rhythm is clipped, but the story doesn't feel incomlete. I liked it.
This was incomplete, more like an excerpt. Most of the threads started by Mr. Kelly are frustratingly left dangling. It's increasingly difficult however to surprise me with something so original in the genre. That's what the three stars are for. Would I recommend reading it? Yes. It's only 32 pages out of your life. Try it.