Nosy Parker

So, you’re wondering. What’s all this again?

All this, as you put it, is a short story. It’s related a bigger whole–that is, the novel we’ve been writing, Parker & Winthrop. Since we can’t share a whole novel with you here, though, and since we haven’t quite finished that first draft (we’re very close, though!), we wanted to give you a taste of what we’ve been creating the last few months. Connor wrote this shorty story about our girls, and since today’s her birthday and all (hello, quarter-century!), she wanted to share it with you. Basia wrote one for her birthday, too, which you can find here

We hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think, and stay tuned: you’ll be hearing more from us about Parker & Winthrop and more about W(REC)’D soon. 

 

Imogen Parker preferred to call herself curious.

She was a learner. An observer. A student of human nature and human action. In short, she would tell you, she paid attention. There wasn’t much more to it than that.

She first heard the term “Nosy Parker” when she was five years old and, perhaps fittingly, had been eavesdropping on her teacher discussing her latest misadventures with the school principal.

It was the same story almost every week: Imogen asked too many questions, she turned up in places she shouldn’t be, and—worst of all, in Imogen’s opinion—squirmy, squinty six-year-old Morris kept ratting her out to Mr. Reed. Imogen was not a fan of Morris. The other kids in her class got along with her pretty well, but Morris had it out for her. Before Imogen showed up, he’d been the fastest reader in class. He didn’t like being shown up by a five-year-old girl. That was fair, she supposed.

After all, she didn’t like Morris.

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The Underpass

part of Annabel Lee: Year One

So, you’re wondering. What’s all this?

All this, as you put it, is a short story. It’s related a bigger whole–that is, the novel we’ve been writing, Parker & Winthrop. Since we can’t share a whole novel with you here, though, and since we haven’t quite finished that first draft (we’re very close, though!), we wanted to give you a taste of what we’ve been creating the last few months. This short story is about one of our protagonists, Annabel Lee Winthrop, and was written by Basia. Since today’s her birthday and all (hello, quarter-century!), she wanted to share it with you.

We hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think, and stay tuned: you’ll be hearing more from us about Parker & Winthrop and more about W(REC)’D soon. 

On her first night in Philadelphia, Annabel Lee Winthrop killed four werewolves.

She found them on the highway near Penn’s Landing. They had cornered a young woman in one of the underpasses below the bridges connecting the waterfront with Old City. There was blood—a lot of blood—but the woman was screaming, and that meant that she was still alive. Annabel Lee had been walking on the bridge parallel to the one under which the small group currently hunkered, and when the screams had alerted her, she had dropped down onto the highway below and begun her stealthy advance. Luckily (and also unluckily), she was downwind from them, so they hadn’t yet scented her. Annabel Lee, on the other hand, took shallow breaths thought her mouth to avoid inhaling their rank smell: one part animal musk, one part raw meat, and one part wet dog.

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nine women, one dress

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The Facts

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
Basia rates it: 2/5

I’m honestly not quite sure what kept me reading this book. It felt like a young author’s first novel, not the product of a veteran writer. The prose was pretty mediocre, and there were so many exclamation points–almost all narratively, not in dialogue–which is always frustrating. This book is an excellent example of why I am wary of reading novels in first-person: I never got a feeling for the character telling the story–or, for that matter, any character. The prose was simplistic and almost childish at times (probably the exclamation points), with every single “essay” sporting the same boy-howdy, golly-gee sort of tone to it, and the author often gave in to stereotypes, as if we wouldn’t believe one of the young women whose story was being told was Southern without her speaking, even narratively, as if she were in a Tennessee Williams play.

The format of the “essays” also annoyed me. Each was introduced with a title, a byline, and occasionally (usually for the women, major side-eye) their age. Furthermore, there were times when the essay-writer would address the reader or refer specifically to their title or byline. It was jarring and disconcerting. It was a self-aware move that only works with some books, and this was certainly not one of them. I picked up this book because it seemed reminiscent of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, to a degree; from the description, it seemed as if it would be a third-person account of where this dress went, that I would consistently follow it on its journey from person to person. That, however, was not the case. So if that’s what you’re going into this book looking for, steer clear. You won’t get it. I was most excited during a scene in which a woman is killed when her cab is swallowed by a sinkhole. I sort of wanted to join her.

To say nothing of the low-key way in which it condones stalking.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I’m still not sure what kept me reading this book. I think it was because I wanted to know what happened to the millennial who was looking for a job.