Lesley Oberman stood at the Customer Service Counter trying very hard to ignore the taste in his mouth.
"And what kind of toy did we have in mind today?" the saleswoman inclined her head slightly.
Lesley shifted under her blue gaze trying to keep the styrofoam cup in his hand out of sight.
"I am not sure," he answered and he was aware of the quiver in his voice, the guilty whine that haunted his every utterance. "That is why I need your help."
He shifted from foot to foot and before he could stop himself he thought, but did not say: 'Don't you think if I already knew what I wanted I would get this whole unpleasant business out of the way immediately?'
"What kind of man do you take me for?" He said gesturing hopelessly at the singing robots launching into yet another chorus of some singularly repetitive and tuneless lyric.
"Well, I surely don't know what kind of man you are," the saleswoman purred pressing a pout back into the dampness of her throat. She patted her blonde wig and adjusted the straps on her lederhosen as if the exertion were too much for her. She looked at Lesley Oberman with shiny eyes and he was aware of the strips of hair plastered over his balding scalp.
"Is this for your own child?" Lesley could tell that she was casting some sort of snide aspersion on his ability to father children. He chose to ignore her rudeness.
"Of course not." His words sounded like the magnified squeaking of uncooked green beans against teeth. The sight of her teeth glistening with spit and her little tongue darting out to wet her lipstick repulsed him. So much so that he forgot to keep the cup hidden.
"Oh," she said, her smile as constant as the electric hum and the robot's chorus, "There is no eating or drinking or smoking in the World of Toys. I have to ask you to dispose of that."
"It is not a drink, nor is it a food or a cigarette. Or even a cigar for that matter." He felt himself redden, the guilty sweat beading under his stiff collar and the familiar constriction in his throat. He felt, worst of all, a new accumulation of saliva building in his mouth. The taste was overwhelming and though her eyes were on him, he could not contain himself. He tried to swallow and push it back down his throat; he tried to think of little Roger. But little Roger's face refused to come into focus. And though a thousand thoughts passed through Lesley's mind as he fought the need to expectorate, clearly only one had passed through the mind of the saleswoman; she proffered a waste paper basket.
"Come on, give the lady the cup," she said in a wheedling tone. She began to pry his resistant fingers away from the styrofoam.
He spat out the profusion of the ill-tasting, vile secretion of his own body straight into the cup in the manner of one well acquainted with the velocity and range of his expectorating mechanisms. Straightening his tie and attempting to appear sane, Lesley looked at the woman.
"I have an ailment," he said, "A rare disease." All of his limbs quivered. The saliva sputtered like a broken sprinkler, the inconsistent spray sparkling like dew on the counter top.
"I am sorry," she looked at him with the robotic equivalent of sympathy, and he wondered if perhaps she was not a person at all, "but there is a rule against drinking."
"I am not going to drink this vile liquid, you damn fool, I must just get rid of it," he muttered. His salivary glands working at triple or quadruple pace as they always did when he was nervous inhibited his ability to speak.
"I might die." He tried to say with dignity and drama, but all that came out was more spit.
"All right," she sighed, "Since you have a disability, I suppose it's okay, but I'm not sure my manager would approve." She looked towards the clown at the cash register.
She did not seem to understand the basis for rule-making or to perceive that it is only certain people who must abide by rules. Rules were simply guidelines and not absolutes. He could tell that, like must stupid people, she slavishly obeyed the dicta of her superiors. He spat once more.
"He is twelve," he said. "I like him though," and then he worried how that might sound. "I don't like his parents..." and this was worse as though he were trying to break a natural bond. "I think that he is special, I am attracted by his..." Attracted was the wrong word... "I would like to become closer to him, perhaps he can save me," He thought but that did not sound altruistic in the least, "save him," sounded conceited, too self-satisfied, as if he thought he were a messiah of sorts, but he tried it anyway, softened by doubt he did not feel. "Perhaps I can save him." All of his words confusedly thrashed about his mouth, destroying all the nobility of this motives. "I suppose you think it's strange a grown man, a boy?"
She shrugged, "Grownups come here all the time buying things for children."
He paused and breathed until the spit returned to its normal level; he felt calmer. "There is something about his age, twelve that I find...interesting."
"Oh," said the girl, "That's when they really start to develop personalities."
Lesley Oberman nodded vigorously. He could have pointed out that some see the personality of the future adult as determined at birth, but latent until adolescence. He wished he could say that. It would confuse her and he enjoyed other people's confusion. It made him happy to speak to stupid people in terms that they would not comprehend. The looks on their soft cow-like faces thrilled him.
"Oh, he sounds perfect for the fantasy doll?" Her voice rose into a question at the end of each sentence. "Let's go to the "Masters of the All Humanity" section?" She walked away from Lesley beckoning with a crooked finger.
The dolls she showed him did not appeal to his sense of what little Roger should have. Each of the Heroes in the Masters of All Humanity series brandished a weapon--a club, a dagger, a cat o' nine tails or a pike. Each Hero possessed a tremendous bifurcated torso of rippling muscles peeking out from beneath his armor. In the clear blue eyes of each hero there glowed a conviction of absolute right and each hero seemed satisfied with his clear blue vision of the world and pleased to fight for it. Each hero had thin lips set in a determined line, and no sign of liquid of any kind in the eyes or mouths or on the skin of the Heroes.
"No," said Lesley Oberman, "I don't think that young Roger is the type for this sort of toy. There is something mean about them."
"Wait," the saleswoman said, "you have not see the Enemies of Right yet." She produced, out of a cardboard box labelled "Rogar the Unforgiving Worm," a plastic statue with the viscosity of worm skin gleaming in such a way that it almost seemed wet. The worm-man had a human face, a narrow featured face, and wore glasses. The worm's eyes were circled with bluish tints and were red-rimmed, like pools in skin so ghostly pale that he resembled like some kind of albino mutant. His small worm nose was nothing more than a red lump like a cherry stuck in a blanc mange.
"Each of the heroes has his own nemesis figure who he must fight to the death."
Lesley stared at Rogar the Unforgiving Worm and his eyes locked with the toy's. There was something compelling about the chinless grin, replete with slobber, and some inarticulate emotion in the mournful eyes.
"Rogar can only be slain in mortal combat with Carnivora," the saleslady picked out another of the heroes, a viking with long blonde hair down his back and a nail studded club in his hand. She moved the muscular arms and the club came down on Rogar's back with the sickening deadness of plastic against plastic.
"No," Lesley shuddered. "I don't think so." He spat discretely into his little cup. The saleswoman looked away. Carnivora continued to flog the worm. "Ouch, ouch," said the saleswoman in a whine. "Die, Die," she answered in a deeper voice.
"Certain children like to create a world of fantasy," she assumed another voice as if reading from an invisible box top. "The Masters of All Humanity series works as an education in the recognition of good and evil and encourages the young adult to imagine the moral dilemma."
"I think not," said Lesley staring still at the worm face peering out of the saleswoman's manicured hands. The trapped worm glowered and Lesley recognized the fear that its immobile face was incapable of expressing.
"Poor thing," Lesley said.
"What?" the saleswoman gaped.
"Poor worm," said Lesley sputtering, "He's just a scapegoat, don't you see? It's not that he's evil, it's just that there is something about him that leads people to hate him and to blame him for their hatred. It's not his fault at all." A string of spit hung between the cup and his lips and he had to break the delicate strand before looking at the saleswoman. Her mouth hung open in horror at his action.
"But he has to die," she said, "He is evil incarnate."
Abruptly, without even a word, Leslie turned. He hurried down the aisle, the voice of the saleswoman coming after him.
"Wait, there are other advantages to the fantasy toy..."
He turned blindly bumping into a life-size cardboard clown holding a sheaf of money-back rebate coupons for clown make up. Almost screaming in horror as the clown tottered and then tipped over spewing the papers on the ground, Lesley turned and ran in the opposite direction past the Barbie Dream house and the rows of Barbies staring out through the windows of their boxes. Blonde, Brunette, Red haired, Black Barbies, Hispanic Barbies, all with identical jutting breasts and vacant smiles. He imagined their cold haughty eyes on him and their lips curling in feminine derision. He ran by Miss Easy Play Bake Set until finally he glimpsed the sanctity of daylight through the double glass doors. He ran past the security guard dressed as a cowboy and the singing robots still chanting the haunting refrain, "We wish you happy shopping, we wish you happy shopping, and a good purchase price."
- - -
"That's sick, that spittin' thing," said Little Roger, "My dad says you are completely bonkers. He says you should be locked up."
"Your father is one of the most disgusting examples of humanity that I have ever encountered," said Lesley, sniffing.
"Yeah," said Roger, "But at least he don't have to spit every thirty seconds like some kind of goddamn weirdo. At least he can keep his juices inside."
"There are worse things in life than inexplicable diseases," said Lesley although the boy's words stung. It was too much to expect Little Roger to transcend his environment completely. He reasoned that if Roger were already perfect, then there would be no need to save him.
"Like what could be worse, huh?"
"Stupidity for one, pure unenlightened stupidity."
"I'd rather be dumb," said Little Roger looking at the amount of fluid in the cup dubiously, "Hey how long'd this take you?"
"Hour or so," said Lesley.
"Not bad," said Little Roger.
"This is for you," Lesley said at last, thrusting the newspaper wrapped package towards the boy.
"That?" asked Roger. "How come?" He peered suspiciously out from behind his glasses.
"What is it?"
"Open it and see." The boy ripped the newspaper away from the glass walls of the aquarium. The dirt, brown and loamy and the passages of the pinkish worms revealed themselves. He unwrapped the Worm Farming for Dummies. For a moment his lips quivered and Lesley thought he saw a tiny sheen of something on them.
"What is this?"
"It's a worm farm," said Lesley, "You can raise your own worms. I know you don't have any pets because of your allergies so I thought you'd like some company. Childhood can be a lonely time in a person's life."
"Nobody keeps worms for pets."
"Not many people do, I admit, but those who do are a special sort."
"Worms aren't pets," said the kid, "They don't have brains, I read it in school they just have fused ganglia."
"They're still a giant step above plants. And above certain people who would malign the lowly worm. Worms do a lot of good in the world. If it wasn't for worms we'd be kneedeep in corpses. Charles Darwin's greatest book was about worms."
"What do they eat then?"
"Dirt," Lesley told him.
The kid was very quiet. He examined the aquarium from all angles. "Thank you," he said finally in words that sounded disappointingly like greeting card inscriptions. "Thank you very much. It's a very nice present."
Lesley carried the gift into the elevator and followed Roger to the door of his apartment. Outside the dreary painted over and over door he could hear the television and the coarse back and forth of Roger's parents and his beastly siblings. Roger said, "Maybe you shouldn't come in."
As he faded backwards into the hallway and Roger turned away, Lesley thought he glimpsed a tiny flicker of eyelash against skin and realized suddenly that in seeing Roger's simple joy he had forgotten himself. He had forgotten about his spit.
That night in his bed, Lesley imagined how the worm farm was simply the first step. He would take Roger to the museum of natural history, he would teach him about biology and about taxidermy. He imagined that he would make the boy his prime beneficiary and almost called his lawyer to tell him. The possibilities seemed limitless. He realized his cure lay in being useful to someone else. It rested in the hope that Roger in all of his blessed childhood innocence could respect and admire him, even love him. So many years had passed since the disease had begun when he just about Roger's age. He had tasted this vileness inside him until it was almost impossible to imagine himself without that taste. He had experimented with smells, hoping that some odor was causing the problem. He had hung air fresheners in all of his rooms and the odor of evergreen weighed upon him. He had chewed gum and smoked cigarettes. He had sucked on peppermints, sprayed breath deodorizers on his tongue; he had cleaned his mouth out with all manner of tools and all varieties of soaps and foams. Nothing had worked until, this most terrifying of all treatments, human contact with Young Roger.
When he went back to sleep he had a dream, or rather a reprise of an incident from his childhood. The burst balloon lying on concrete, his glasses flying overhead and the older boys in a circle around him. He, saying reasonably, though his voice was all that young quavering of a twelve year old, neither high nor low, but screeching, explaining to the older boys that his glasses were prescription and of no use to anyone but himself. The light flashed on the lenses, he could just see the blur of their faces and hear their laughter. "Lesley, Less-lee," The warm clod of a hand on his shoulder turning him around. "Why don't you look at us?" "Why don't you beg us politely for your glasses back?" "Because you won't give them back," he shouted, "Because will never give them back. So why should I ask?" In the dream, his words were lost in the sputtering and yelling and it seemed useless even to speak them.
- - -
He did not see Roger for several days, but in that time he made. He planned how they would become good friends and how eventually he would adopt Roger.
On Monday Lesley waited in the building lobby for school to let out. Roger had few friends and almost no interests so he kept to a fairly regular schedule. The building door slammed behind him, a small figure speckled with orangish freckles overshadowed by an enormous backpack.
"Hi," said Lesley, "How're the worms?"
"Good," said Roger. He giggled, "They're not half as boring as they look. Except my mom thought they were gross, she said I shouldn't take gifts from strangers. I put one under her pillow. But she didn't find it yet."
"Did you tell her that I'm not a stranger, I'm a neighbor?"
"Yeah," said Roger, "But I don't know if she bought it. If she says I can't have 'em, I guess I just have to kill her." He laughed loudly and kicked a chewed piece of gum across the floor.
"I was thinking," said Roger. He pressed the elevator button.
"What?" Lesley asked, pleased at the notion of Roger thinking.
"I was wondering if you know any tricks or anything?" Roger seemed nervous asking.
"You know like magician tricks or clown tricks that sort of thing?"
"Why do you ask?"
"I have been thinking," said the boy, "Thinking about my future."
"Good," said Lesley, "It's never too precipitate to plan ahead."
"I've decided on a career. I told my father and he just said it was dumb."
"Your father is not sensitive" Lesley answered, "I am the one to speak to about such issues. I am immensely knowledgeable and unfathomably compassionate."
"You don't have a job though," Roger remarked a bit pointedly.
"No," said Lesley, "I have been incapacitated by my disease, but I have read a great deal."
"Oh," said the boy doubtfully. "My father hated the worms too, he wanted to kill them, he said they were filthy."
"If it's not impolite for me to ask, what do you want to do with your life?"
"I want to be a clown," said Roger, "I figure it would be fun to make people laugh all the time."
"Fun?" Lesley tried to keep his face frozen in a mask of calm. He tried not to reveal his true feelings. "I can imagine you might want to be an actor, we are all actors playing many parts, but as a clown, you would have to wear make up!"
"I know," said Roger, "I wouldn't mind it, it's not like girl's make up, it's grease paint. GREASE PAINT." He seemed to like the sound of the word grease, he let it roll off his tongue caressing the one syllable and molding it in his mouth like a toffee.
Lesley did not know what to say. He spat into his cup. Of course the boy was not thinking. Lesley knew that this was merely a whim and he knew that he should not be honest, for honesty would only harden the boy in his rebellion.
"My Dad says that clowns are the lowest form of human life."
"He's wrong" said Lesley, "Clowning is a highly respected art."
"So you think I should follow my dream and run away and go to clown college when I'm old enough."
"Maybe," said Lesley, though he was extremely disturbed that this prodigy would already be working towards self-destruction. He had thought he had more time.
The elevator came.
"Bye," said Little Roger, "I appreciate your support." He stepped into the little enclosure and the shining brass doors slid shut.
Lesley was distraught that night. He spat and spat. He even awoke cloaked in sweat after dreaming that he was drowning and after that he was afraid to sleep again. It offended him that Little Roger was contemplating a career as a clown. He lay awake until dawn, the questions circling in his head, in a horrible viscous mess. How could he convince Roger not to waste his precious years on such a befuddled ambition? How could he preserve the purity of his relationship with Roger and yet discourage him from the idiocy of a career of clowning? Didn't the boy have any self-respect, any pride? He lay there, the room out of focus, the white walls gray in the semi-dark, the furniture blurred in his myopic stare, thinking and thinking until at last the idea came to him. He would prove that clowns were lowly, he would himself sacrifice his own dignity momentarily for the sake of Roger's.
Even though he had sworn he would never again enter a toy store, at ten a.m. he was waiting in front of the World of Toys with his styrofoam cup clutched tightly in his hands.
He nervously paced back and forth spitting in rhythm waiting for the store to open. He knew he made a ridiculous sight; the humiliation had already begun. The lights went on. He knew that the workers inside were already laughing at him. "Well, it doesn't matter if I am already a clown in the eyes of the world," he thought. "It just doesn't matter. Who cares?"
As soon as they opened the doors he pushed by the two matching security guards leaving them with their holsters dangling.
"I have to get something, don't hinder me," he said. "I am in a hurry." He kept his head high and his back straight as he marched to the back of the store to the north west corner where he remembered knocking over the cardboard clown. He clearly remembered the clown's peevish grin and the white gloved hands of the clown and the way the clown tottered and wobbled and then fell backwards, but the clown was not there. He saw to his horror that the entire circus section was gone. Instead the remodeled aisle was crowded with stuffed animals. Then he saw the saleswoman. She was rearranging teddy bears.
"Hello," he said, "Remember me?"
"Yes," she said, centering a pair of rabbit ears on her head. "Where is your cup?"
In his rush, he had misplaced his cup. Could it be still outside or had it fallen when he pushed by the guards? Perhaps he had dropped it somewhere down the sleek aisles.
"I'm in a hurry," he said. He knew he looked crazy, that his hair was not flat against his skull and his eyes must have betrayed a hint of madness that could even penetrate her stupidity.
"What are you looking for?" she asked him in a gentle almost teasing tone. "Have you been cured?"
"Clown make up," he breathed, he felt as if he were a dying man and this was his last breath. "I want Clown make up. That's my cure. My only hope."
"We don't carry it anymore, it was not edible."
"I don't want to eat it, goddamn it," he said.
"Yes," she said and she enunciated every syllable, "but you are a grown up," she said this soothingly in the way one speaks to a very young child. She was never at a loss for words. "We have a policy not to sell anything that could hurt anyone in this store. A policy is a rule, sort of."
"I know what a policy is, but I need clown make up."
"I'm sorry," she turned back to the teddy bears. She was piling them into one array of bodies. Almost like a teddy bear Guernica he thought, their paws flailing, their mouths unable to articulate their cries of pain. In his panic, modern art rushed through his head.
"Please," he begged, the spit was hanging in ropes inside his mouth.
"You might just try regular makeup, women's make up," she said, "it's not so different."
"But it's not greasepaint." He wanted to pout, to stamp his feet.
"No, but you could probably achieve the same basic effect--it would probably end up looking almost the same, dear." She did not look at him. "Especially if you do not have to perform under hot lights or anything," she was calm implacable, unaware of his turmoil. She stroked one of the teddy bear's heads.
She did not seem to hear him breathing or to understand how the spit was rising in his mouth.
"Don't you just love the little guys?" she asked him, "Aren't they the cutest? They seem so human."
He looked at the teddy bear that she held. It was fat. It had beady black eyes and a bow around its neck. There was something evil about the teddy bear's pink felt tongue lolling maliciously out of the corner of it's sewn-on smile, something obscene.
"They are a traditional gift for when you can't think of anything else, or for when you don't need to buy anything elaborate--a classic. Many people, adults even, collect them throughout long lifetimes." She moved the teddy bear back and forth and made her voice gruff and throaty. "All I need is love, take me home mister, take me home. I need to be held." The saleswoman waggled the brown fuzzy object and did not smile or blink at Lesley's horror. She pushed the bear towards Lesley without seeming to notice his discomfort at all.
Lesley stood stock still as the teddy bear advanced on him. He froze as the teddy bear crawled up his arm. "Take me home, I need your love," said the teddy bear. "Love me, love me."
Lesley felt the saliva; he shook the teddy bear off. He pushed the little fuzzy animal to the ground and wanted to pummel it, but he managed to restrain himself. His disgust rose up inside him. The saleswoman stared.
"What's the matter, don't you like stuffed animals?" she asked him. She knelt down to cradle the fallen bear, "Oh poor, poor baby--mean, nasty man," she cooed.
He turned away from her, but her voice chased him down.
"Or maybe he's just afraid of touching poor itsy bitsy bears?" she said, this time in her adult voice.
Again the aisles confused him, again he rushed until he saw the door. His head felt swollen and full of liquid as if he could feel his brain's fluid moving and his blood beating in his veins. All of the liquids in his body fought to get outside him and his disgust rose with them to the surface. He was composed of more liquid than solid; he knew that his flesh was three quarters water and that bones could not hold against the force of the liquid rising up like a wave. He was breathing heavily by the time he got outside. And even that did not help, the humidity in the air weighed him down.
- - -
He heard Roger coming. The sound of the can, the slap of the sneakers on the ground, the phah, phah, phah of Roger spitting. Roger entered the lobby.
"Hey Ho, Little Boy," said Lesley. With the make-up on he felt freer. With the booming clown voice he could speak and immensity of possible sentences he could speak through this disguise thrilled him. "Hey, ho."
Roger's mouth was agape. His lips were wide open and inside his mouth, his little tongue lay pink and vulnerable.
"Why did the chicken cross the road?" said Lesley loudly. He almost wanted to laugh at Roger's shocked look. He felt the thrill of having been right for once.
"Are you crazy?" said Roger.
"What's black and white and red all over?" asked Lesley, "What's going on, why are you dressed like that? Why do you have eye shadow on?" Roger looked sincerely confused as if he had never seen a clown in person.
"Don't you know a clown when you see one?" Lesley had expected horror, had tried to evoke that look on Roger's face but suddenly, he felt panicky. It was as if the boy couldn't see beyond the makeup, it was as if Roger thought that he was the clown through and through.
"I am a clown," he said and then, again, "I am a clown. A clown, a clown, a clown."
The boy just stared at him. Lesley wished he could do a somersault, but he was not limber enough so he did a jumping jack instead. Roger still said nothing but seemed to look on as if waiting for more. So Lesley pulled an orange out of his pajama pants pocket and began to throw it from one hand to other, all the while he laughed hoping that his laugh would be infectious. Still Roger said nothing, he turned and pressed the elevator button. His little back was rigid. He kicked impatiently at the wainscoting.
"Can't you see I'm juggling? Can't you see I'm a clown?" Lesley shouted. The single orange floated up and floated down, his control was almost magical. He felt he was walking the tightrope.
Roger said nothing, he was staring at the wall.
Lesley ran over to him and tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey little boy," he said, "I am a clown. You are supposed to be laughing at me."
"It isn't funny," Roger said, "it's not a joke," he would not lift his head.
"But of course it's funny. Laugh at me. You wanted to be a clown, so laugh at one." He wanted to say, 'Don't you see how how ridiculous it all is? Don't you see what I'm doing for your sake? How noble I am?' But he was scared and he could not find the words. The boy would not see him for what he was. The boy could not tell the sacrifice involved.
"Maybe if you fell down?" said Roger, "Maybe if you fell down and rolled on the floor and hit your head so hard that it bled, maybe it would make me laugh." He grinned. "But maybe I would just think you were dumb for spoiling everything."
"But I did this for you," Lesley wanted to say, his hand was still on Roger's shoulder, he could feel Roger's bones through his shirt. He could feel the dry thinness of Roger's little boy body. "You asked for a clown, I gave you a clown." He said.
"No," said Roger. "That's not the kind of clown I wanted to be."
"Can't you see. I'm not really a clown, I'm just showing you how dumb clowns are." He pulled at the boy's shoulder, the dryness of bone like shells like popcorn, like all the dry things he remembered from a long time ago. "Please, please, I'm not a clown. I'm not a clown. It's just make-up. It washes off."
"Jeeze," said the boy, "Talk in a loud voice why don't you?" He ducked his head down and stared at his feet. "You sure look like a clown."
For the second time in one day, Leslie could not find his cup, it had tipped over and rolled somewhere during his jumping jacks so he spat in the ashtray.
"You're gross," said Roger. "I don't want your stupid filthy disease. I don't want anything to do with you. You are a clown, even without the make up."
"But you and I are alike," said Lesley, "you are just like me. Don't you see?"
The elevator door opened and Roger stepped in. He looked at Lesley. "By the way," he said, "The worms died," the boy's glasses reflected light and Lesley could see himself in them. He could see the makeup over his eyes, and the big red lipsticked mouth. He could see the little eye liner tears on either eye and the beigish glow of his skin. The big baby folds of his arms, and the huge wideness of his white scalp. And little Roger's dark eyes peered out through the transparent reflection of Lesley and Little Roger's eyelids squeezed together, dry like a reptile's. He looked straight at Lesley.
"They were dirty and I tried to clean them," he said and he snickered.
The elevator doors slid shut. For a long time Lesley lay down on the ground and spat repeatedly. He looked at himself in the brass elevator doors, even in his striped pajamas, in his flapping too big shoes, in his orange wig with his red painted nose, he looked like himself. The saliva encircled him like a shining boundary on the marble. No matter how much saliva he expelled, more rose up to replace it. If only he had got real grease paint, he thought, if only he had thought things through.
About the author:
Deirdre Day-MacLeod writes nonfiction on everything from hair-care products to infanticide and how they do laundry on nuclear submarines She iscurrently ghost-writing for the less than famous and finishing a book of stories. Her fiction has appeared in Ark, Taint Magazine, Storyglossia, Pindeldyboz, and Slow Trains, Opium (forthcoming) and reviews and interviews appear sporadically in Pop Matters.