Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Short Story

by Brittany Fonte

SETTING: Many weeds grow green in the Mid Western wilds of cows and plains, mosquito-filled lakes and conservative politics. Wisconsin happily barters in cheese curds and whey (sown by serial killers), the twin Dakotas dapple in deer ticks, dust and durable durham wheat. My Minnesota, though, touts corn and soybeans, also gun racks, goys, and cheap ale. Ice fishing holes, sans crops, are stuffed with mammal heads and hookers as company-come-tail. I was raised here, shallow soil et al; “gay” meant “jolly,” only in the way it was used in famous Broadway musicals recreated at the local (Norwegian) rec center. Here, lefse is rolled as much as Mary Jane, and Mary Jane marries men.

CHARACTER: Mary Jane married three men, maybe high, but I hoped for more. I held Ellen a hero without a hampering cape, or male hormones. Nineteen and nit-witted, I coddled visions of karaoke love songs in my mind of minimal focus and tone deafness. Feeling powerful with temporary parental leave, and teenaged volcanic panties primed in electric shocks, I panted after—preyed— on pretty coeds without guilt, without redneck perceptions, concepts of “perversity,” or narrow-minded prattle. Until.

THEME: Until Eternity: This is what I promised her. I kissed her once, offered, “Until we meet again.” Until the clock struck twelve and my spring break curfew counted, I held her hips until the cows came... I thought of her driving home, got a speeding ticket from a dyke who couldn’t see me for who I wanted to be. I thought: Until the fat lady sings. Until the end. Later, I told my parents until I was blue in the face: I loved her. Juliet and Jolie-Pitt. They were silent. They wouldn’t accept it, not until Hell froze over. Sex equaled guilty until proven guilty.

POINT OF VIEW: Guilt from Her. Mom. The old-fashioned. The bigoted. The Christian Right. The Focus on the Family, not mine. The Majority. The Man. The Commandments. The hope for a grandchild. The neighbors and what they might say, have said, have seen over a privacy fence. The hurt I might contend with. The discrimination. The “phase.” The idea of tab A and slot B without silicone accoutrements. The slut. The family friends who will not accept me. The façade. The children with no father. There is, also, God.

PLOT: My God, Thanksgiving came gifting and I, riding shotgun in my mother’s shuttle van, thinking of tofu turkey and brown buttered biscuits (basic human rights) showed my cards: I shouted, “I’m in love. With a woman.” Torrential, tyrannical screams ensued, and then my ride was wrought with the most soundless of nauseated silence.


It was clear I would not break breads of bartering, then. There was not one loaf for all, and I had to bide my time until a foreign taxi could return me to sender, reset my sexuality, tally all of my wrongs as a child and all of my tuition costs.

CONFLICT: The cost is more than I have

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