Well, folks, we’re on day 5 of the Kickstarter for Schoolbooks & Sorcery, and things are looking good. 50 backers for $1135, which puts us at 18% of our funding goal. 25 days to go… we can totally do this. Mind you, despite my happy-go-lucky demeanor, I’m a worrywart deep inside, so I’m totally flailing about and making a backup plan which involves fleeing to Canada, changing my name, and becoming a lumberjack if things don’t work out.
Friends, I would be an AWFUL lumberjack. You do NOT want me anywhere near chainsaws or large men in plaid flannel.
So let’s fund this anthology. Let’s fund it so hard, I never even have to dream of becoming a lumberjack out of shame and regret.
And now… an excerpt from “Protection,” by the amazing Cheryl Rainfield. What happens when a lesbian teenager, harassed by bullies, finds a magical item capable of changing her life?
I walk out into the hall—and Janelle thumps her shoulder into mine, slamming me against the shiny brick wall so hard my teeth jar together. My shoulder aches but I try not to let it show.
Her friends surround me in a half circle, backing me up against the wall, blocking off my exit. Students rush past us in the usual frenzied escape for the weekend, some looking over curiously, others ignoring the tight knot of humans closing me in. Shouts and catcalls sound out, but not for me, sneakers squeak against the floor, boys throw half-finished lunches or sweaty socks at each other.
“Don’t think you can make a pass at me, dyke,” Janelle says, pushing her face up close to mine, her lips a snarl, her normally pretty face transforming into an ugly mask that I’m sure none of the teachers have seen. This close, her sickly sweet perfume is overwhelming.
I push my breath out. “I wasn’t coming on to you! I just liked your presentation. I thought you made depression real. I’ve never heard anyone put it like that before—that it’s like a happiness-eating virus, eating up all the happiness before the person can taste it. It was…real.”
Janelle’s eyes soften a little, and for a second I almost think she wants to ask me something, or maybe tell me something. Then one of the girls snickers. Janelle’s gaze darts sideways at the girl who laughed, and when she looks back at me, her face is hard again, like a mask. “Don’t kiss up to me.”
“I’m not. Besides,” I say, “you’re not my type.”
“Not your type?” Janelle stiffens, tossing her head. Her hair whips my cheek. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
I don’t understand this whole straight-girl fear that I’m coming on to them, then offense when they realize I’m not. “I don’t like straight girls. Think about it; why would I? Rejection, aggravation, and there’s no attraction.”
“Maybe you like to suffer,” Zhi says.
“Seriously? Get real,” I say. “No one does.”
“Yeah? Then why are you always trying to flaunt it?” Janelle says.
Flaunt it? “I’m just trying to be me.” Trying to be comfortable in my body and who I am, which is more I can say for any of them, with their faces all made up, the fake girly-girl way they laugh and talk, their designer clothes bought to show off their bodies to boys instead of, god forbid, being liked for who they are.
For more… well, you know whatcha gotta do.