Renaissance Online Magazine Fiction

MARCH 2000 | VOL. 4, NO. 3



An American learns the reality of Dranghara's ancient traditions | George Kashdan


Palace Lanes | Rob Kerr

SHARON LAFRENZ, a native of Portland, Oregon, is new to the Internet and "comparatively new to the writing world." She recently had her first story accepted for publication. A resident of Calgary, Alberta, LaFrenz is a contributing writer to Renaissance Online Magazine.


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At the beginning of the story, Maxine had called Graham "a hunk a' sizzlin' meat," but added that he'd been a real gentleman, too. Trina had been patiently waiting for Maxine to get to the sizzling details.

"So what happened?" she asked again, as Maxine sat staring at her own reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

"Huh?" said Maxine.

"With the guy, Graham," Trina said. "What happened?"

"Whadda ya mean?"

Trina dropped her head to her chest in exasperation, then looked at Maxine. "I mean, what happened! For Chrissake, Maxine! You been tellin' me about meetin' this guy -- this Graham, at some lake ... remember?"

Maxine looked like she was trying to remember. "Well ... we were in the water. 'N it was like ... so warm 'n ... nice. The night smelled sweet. Real sweet. It was the honeysuckle. Grows aaaall around the lake, eh?"

Maxine's eyes were beginning to glaze over, the lids drooping. Her mouth hung open as she stared at Trina in the semi-darkness.

"You don' believe me, do you?" she said.

"Should I?" countered Trina. "Who ever heard of a Lake Lotsa-hoo-chi? You are so full of it, Maxine! I dunno why I hang out with you. There wasn't no Graham, was there? No group a' nice, polite guys and girls, no honeysuckle --."

"There was so, goddammit!" Maxine shouted. Heads turned, and Ruby came to where Trina and Maxine were seated.

"Hey, you two," she said. "Remember what I told you? You either behave, or do your drinking elsewhere, understand?"

Maxine fell forward against the bar, one hand holding her glass practically on its side, the other splayed flat on the bar top.

"Who the hell are you to be bossing us, eh?" she snarled at Ruby. "You ain't no better --"

Trina took hold of Maxine's arm, gently restraining her, and said to Ruby, "Sorry. We understand. No trouble, no trouble."

Ruby worked her jaw back and forth while studying Maxine. Two pairs of black eyes stared straight into each other as Wynonna's sultry voice crooned to the near empty room.

"Good," Ruby said, then went back to her conversation with the old man.

Maxine whined, "I don' wanna get thrown out in that witch-tit weather, Trina. Be nice, okay?"

"Me be nice? You're the one causin' a ruckus!"

"That little shit," said Maxine, ducking her head and darting her eyes toward Ruby. "She's not no better 'n us!"

"Never mind. She'd the one behind this counter. So keep it down, eh?"

"You make me get mad!" Maxine whispered. "You're supposed to be my friend! You're supposed to listen to me 'n believe me!"

"Well," Trina grumbled, "you just quit tellin' all them lies. Why do you do it? You're always lying, Maxine."

Both hands wrapped around her glass, Maxine stared into the last dregs of amber liquid, shrugged her large, sloped shoulders and said, "I dunno." After a moment, she glanced at Trina and said stubbornly, "But there is a Lake Lotsahoochi. 'Sup north somewheres. Lots a' mosquitos ... but on the nights when there's a big ol' white moon, then the fish -- lots of 'em, 'n big, too -- they leap up outta the still water 'n gobble up all the bugs. Then it's not so bad, eh? People could go skinny dippin' 'n not get eaten up by all the bugs, you know?"

Trina bobbed her head slightly, one side of her mouth turning up a bit as she reached out and gently brushed a strand of hair from her friend's face.

"What kinda fish?" she asked.

* * * *