The Coil
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The Coil

Hard to Carry and Fit in a Trunk: An Excerpt from Jules Archer’s ‘Little Feasts’

Ginny Hanover always envisioned herself as a slender-boned girl.

Hell, she always envisioned herself in the trunk of car, so right off the bat something’s wrong with this scenario.

Image: Thirty West Publishing House (Purchase).

She wants that frail, swan-like neck, bony-bird arms. She wants to be lifted, crisscrossed over shoulders, bound and gagged. She can rip Duct tape in two. She’s practiced. Her full-throttle scream is at the ready.

It’s odd. She knows this. She’s told her shrink this. Dr. Donna Marjoram (it’s a spice not a maiden name) listens. Puts pen to paper. Nods. How she manages to keep her eyes from bulging when Ginny tells her the fantasies she keeps is impressive.

Ginny rips napkins apart while she watches the Investigation Discovery channel. It’s nerve wracking. The ones who get taken. Who are easily lifted and never found again. She’s covetous.

She’s prey. Or she would be if she could drop those last fifty pounds. Ginny eats chocolate pudding precisely at eight in the p.m. Licks spoons laden with whipped cream. Uses tortillas as plates.

Ginny’s tried Weight Watchers and those awful slim shakes but she just can’t drop the pudge. She exercises too. Long jogs taken at dark times. Conveniently forgets her cell phone at home. Fills her cats’ food bowls before leaving the house. She walks down on the train tracks, deep in the heart of downtown, offering herself. But no one wants a fat girl.

No one will take her. All the Jim’s and John’s and Jeffrey’s she’s met with penchants for sickly ambitions, and they still leave her be. No one trolls her in the dark. Tires peeling down lonely streets. She doesn’t carry mace or pack heat or sport a rape whistle. And yet, she’s still not the appealing sort. A waif to sling into a van.

She wants to be equal. The youth and the thin win at everything. Even if they’re ugly. She’s not ugly, but she’s fat and this means Ginny won’t get the thrill of the chase. Of being stranded with, stalked by, a stranger. Heart pumping adrenaline and sweaty palms. Oh, the dreams she has.

A lifelong dream. She doesn’t know why she wants it. Maybe too many hours watching horror movies and dissecting stray dogs in her backyard and letting her brother’s hands choke her throat. It’s why she got fat; but it’s also why she wants to get thin.

Catch-22’s are sons-of-bitches. Ginny knows this. She’s fat girl Ginny, and no one will ever have their illicit way with her. She’s harder to carry. It’s not fair. All things should be equal in love and warped visions.

Ginny thinks back to her favorite movie. The Silence of the Lambs. Pasty-faced Jame Gumb and that hole in the floor. The lucky chosen. Girls with patterns drawn on their backs, puffy flesh and round, round ankles. They are her aspiration.

Before Ginny sleeps at night she always thinks, wonders why it can’t be her. Pines for equality. Oh, Buffalo Bill, ye who likes them thick and large and juicy. Like steaks. Hefty women who could fill Hefty bags.

JULES ARCHER is the author of the chapbook, All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had (Thirty West Publishing, 2018) and the short story collection, Little Feasts (Thirty West Publishing, 2020). Her writing has appeared in various journals, including SmokeLong Quarterly, Pank, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. She lives in Arizona and looks for monsters in strange places.
Following her success from All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had, critically-acclaimed flash fiction writer Jules Archer returns to the dinner table with Little Feasts, her debut short story collection. The stories are a table-long buffet of femininity, a lying tree, childhood innocence, toxic masculinity, and a 20-pound cast-iron skillet. Works within have been featured in Five:2:One, SmokeLong Quarterly (where this featured excerpt first appeared), Maudlin House, PANK, and more.



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The Coil

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