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Jesus Loves You But Not Today

The first volume of the Canvas Sextet Series.

Jesus Loves You But Not Today is the first volume in the Canvas Sextet series of contemporary literary fiction comprised of single-page stories that are darkly comic, tragic, and often hilarious. The stories are composed with only as many words as can be fit onto one standard blank page in Word, single spaced using 12-point font in Times Roman. The stories are provocative and unsettling, dramatic narrative condensed down to an essence.

In “The Chamber”, a man commits state-sanctioned suicide; a tough young female Mexican fighter tries to earn a title shot in “Wet Work”. In “Elevator Music” a Manhattan businesswoman becomes a sexual predator, while “Eat Me ‘Til I’m Gone” imagines a sky funeral in Tibet. “Memory of All That” finds a woman making a very troubling purchase and in “Summa Cum Laude” a bright young coed uses her wiles to get ahead. An aging diva gets some necessary help in “Ice Cream and Gin” and a slave mounts a bloody rebellion in “The Devil You Don’t.” The stories in this book are told in vivid, sometimes graphic imagery with rich, evocative prose that makes for compelling and hypnotic reading that is highly entertaining and often surprising.

Excerpt

Don’t Make Me Kill You

The divorce would be messy. It would be in all the newspapers. It would be a scandal. Jessica was fine with it. Sometimes things had to get messy. You had to get your hands dirty. This was politics after all, and Jessica was ready to run with the big dogs. It was partly thanks to her that Edgar Harrington was going to be the next mayor of this city. They had won by a landslide, running as underdogs and unseating a popular incumbent. It was only the beginning. He would serve two terms, no more, then make a run for the Statehouse. Anything was possible after that. And she, Jessica, would be there. He had promised her that. She would be the next Mrs. Edgar Harrington. That was why they were brunching at the Four Seasons, a post-election night victory celebration, just the two of them, to make plans for the future. It was all so heady.

Edgar was late. He was so pressed right now. The media fought for interview time and every politician in the state was calling to congratulate him. They all wanted a piece of him now. She just needed to be patient. He always made time for her. He put it all on the line for her. They had managed to be extraordinarily discreet. The only person who knew was Alex, who drove her to their late night rendezvous and got Edgar quietly in and out of hotels. Alex was their ally and accomplice. He would come with them to the Governor’s Mansion and later, to Washington, if only to keep him close and quiet. He knew all their secrets. She waited to order but asked the waiter if he would bring some coffee to the table. She had worn her best dress, the Chanel suit he liked so much. She would have to get used to brunching at the Four Seasons, to this kind of extravagance. She would learn to be sophisticated. She would be perfect. Alex pushed aside the red velvet curtain, stuck his head in and looked around, making sure the room was private. She waved, happy they had finally arrived. She poured coffee in both cups and served one to Edgar.

Jessica! Darling!, came the chirpy voice. Jessica looked up, stunned. Oh, Hi… Sandra, she stammered, almost stuttering. What…what are you doing here? She put too much emphasis on ‘doing.’ Same as you, having victory brunch, Sandra said. Haven’t you ordered yet? Oh please let me. Solomon, would you bring us some caviar please, the Beluga; crab claw ceviche, Cobb salads and two orders of Athens Benedict. Oh and some fresh cantaloupe, and since we’re celebrating, how about a bottle of Dom Perignon. Make sure it’s well chilled would you Solomon? Lovely. Now, then, she turned briskly to Jessica. Where were we? Oh, I have to tell you. Edgar won’t be able to make it but sends his regards. I’m sure you understand. My, but you are ambitious, aren’t you? I do like that in you. But really, you didn’t think it would be this easy, did you? Were you ready to move into the Governor’s Mansion? Oh Edgar’s such a fool and God knows he’ll fuck anything in a skirt, but an intern is beneath even him. Did you really think you could walk in here with your fake Chanel and your cheap shoes and walk away with Edgar?

The waiter brought in champagne. Thank you, Solomon. Alex will take care of this, and please have him bring the car around would you? Oh you’re a dear. She looked back at Jessica, who sat in a stupor. May I offer you some advice? Girl to girl. She did not wait for a reply. She stood up, walked around to Jessica’s side of the table and spoke softly into her ear, so near that only she could hear. Jessica turned alabaster. Sandra looked her in the eyes. Emotion had drained from her face and she took on an expression Jessica had never seen before, certainly not from Mrs. Harrington. Then Sandra was beaming. She fluffed her hair. Well then, she said cheerily, I guess that’s it, don’t you think? Enjoy your brunch. She left; Solomon came through the curtain. Would you like anything else, Miss? Jessica asked for the washroom. She locked the stall and lifted up her Chanel dress so as not to soil it, kneeled, put her head in the toilet, and threw up.

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