No Sh!t, There I Was: Blush Response

So no shit, there we are, a couple hundred bucks from the first stretch goal for the Kickstarter! WOOHOO, EVERYONE! Go go go, let’s get illustrations in this baby and then a pay raise for the writers.

There are only two stories left in the table of contents, so which one will RNGesus pick today? It’s Blush Response by E. Catherine Tobler.

I was surprised and incredibly honored to see a story from Elise land in my slush pile. I’ve read her short stories for years, and if you’re not familiar with her work–well, what’s wrong with you? Go work your way through her bibliography, you won’t be sorry. She writes absolutely beautiful prose, words that are rich and alive and just a bit alien. She’s got a way of looking at things, of writing stories that provides them such depth, and I’m unabashedly envious of her skill.

And she did not deviate from that record in the slightest with Blush Response. It’s a black and white, roaring 20s gangster movie of a story. Quite literally black and white, a world of grayscale, in which color is a foreign mark left by the hands of “Shine Girls,” used as a torture and a warning. Our pin curl and suit-sporting main gangster Lola has gotten her hands on one such Shine Girl, named Wonderly, by the simple mechanism of having kidnapped her from the control of another gang. Lola? Is not a nice person.

Wonderly and Lola are fascinating characters with a dynamic I might have mentally written some fanfiction about. This is another of those stories where I hope, hope, hope there’s more, because Elise has given us a fascinating world driven by deep currents of emotional struggle.

And the main character is a female gangster named Lola. I AM ONLY HUMAN, PEOPLE.

All this begins with Lola’s “No shit, there I was…” Support the Kickstarter and you get this and 23 other awesome stories. Time’s running out, go!

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