Dahlia Season: stories & a novella (Future Tense)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Chicana. Goth. Dykling. Desiree Garcia knows she’s weird and a weirdo magnet. To extinguish her strangeness, her parents ship her to Saint Michael’s Catholic High School, then to Mexico, but neurology can’t be snuffed out so easily: Screwy brain chemistry holds the key to Desiree’s madness. As fellow crazies sense a kinship with her, Desiree attracts a coterie of both wanted and unwanted admirers, including a pair of racist deathrock sisters, a pretty Hispanic girl who did time in California’s most infamous mental asylum, and a transnational stalker with a pronounced limp.
As high school graduation nears, Desiree’s weirdness turns from charming to alarming. Plagued by increasingly bizarre thoughts and urges, Desiree convinces herself she’s schizophrenic, despite assurance otherwise. In college, she finds Rae, an ex-carnie trannyboi, who becomes the June Carter to her Johnny Cash. With Rae’s help, Desiree answers the riddle of her insanity and names her disease.
Combining the spark of Michelle Tea, the comic angst of Augusten Burroughs, and the warmth of Sandra Cisneros, Mexican American author Myriam Gurba has created a territory all her own. Dahlia Season not only contains the title novella, but also several of Gurba’s acclaimed stories.
Myriam Gurba is a high school teacher who lives in Long Beach, California, home of Snoop Dogg and the Queen Mary. She graduated from UC Berkeley, and her writing has appeared in anthologies like The Best American Erotica (St. Martin’s Press), Bottom’s Up (Soft Skull Press), Secrets and Confidences (Seal Press), and Tough Girls (Black Books).
born. They told me I was chubby, with thick black hair, and when they pierced my ears after one week, they said I didn’t even cry. My abuela hung big gold hoops from my years. That’s how you tell babies apart in my barrio: the girls are pierced, with gold, stones, and gems hanging from their earlobes. Babies with jewelry. But my abuelita should have known she couldn’t cheat destiny. She came here to escape from Mexico but found demons waiting for her in the United States, ones that are worse.
busy intersection. This poor lady, a midget with gigantic feet that made her look like a hobbit, ran out into traffic to cradle his burnt body. He probably died, but I’ll never know for sure. My aunt just kept on driving. She was in a hurry to get us to the airport so we wouldn’t miss our flight home. Standing on the airport curb, waiting for the chauffeured VW Mom had said was being sent to pick me up, I took a big whiff. The hot Guadalajara air had a raw familiarity. Its odor hadn’t changed at
along the walls. The maid, Fermina, Nelson’s wife, was tickling a fertility goddess lounging amongst lush plants with an orange feather duster. She had cranked the volume on a nearby TV high enough for her to listen to telenovelas31 as she tended to La Casa’s Precolumbian art. Engrossed, Fermina didn’t see or hear me walking past her. A swarm of startled moths batted wings inside me. I blushed and hurried into my room, dropped my shit on the floor, and kicked the door shut. I flopped onto the
eclipsed the front seat and his thin lips pressed to mine. An amateur tongue slithered into my mouth, advancing me from homo to hetero incest, and although the village of Chapala was encouraging the smashing of taboos, it wasn’t helping me wreck the one I’d come to destroy. I’d wanted to infiltrate a crippled boy’s pants, caress a deformed limb, feel up a gimp extremity, and Tiny Tim, he got to lick the insides of my cheeks and drizzle saliva all over my face while all I got was what? To cop an
ask her something, and the rest of us would hover by the door, hearing the conversation, the door open enough for us to glimpse framed Bible verses on the wall, the Book of Mormon on the dresser, the palest feet and calves ever poking out at the foot of the bed, resting on a delicate quilt. We had fun with Candace’s mom’s yearbooks. Candace hauled them out one day, blew the dust off one’s jacket, cracked it open. She held the book up and displayed a page to us, and she pointed to a black and