Maxine and No Century for Apologies–Two Novellas

From Maxine: I hesitate. I’m in that place when you really want something, but you’re edgy about taking it because the offer might be a trap and when it springs, you’re lost, legs broken, neck snapped, fingers crushed, chest caved in, skull shattered but you’re waiting for the right time to tell her you’re broken as bad as she is and if you touch her, you might be the trap, the swamp that swallows her and so you hold back, watching her, watching the money on the bed, watch her watch you watch her and you see the fear in her eyes, those green eyes shining as bright as a viper’s fixed on you and they say come on—Take the plunge, drop through the trap door and feel me because I’m real and everything you’re hiding from is right here too.

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Maxine: A Fierce Love Story

From No Century for Apologies:

Access to Tarma was through cuts in the rock of a formidable mountain that towered above the gorge where water rushed seaward in a white foam. Tarma was a haven reserved for kings, but now it gave itself and its secrets to the automobile. Once through the mountain, the road opened to a vista of a crystalline-blue lake that covered much of the valley like a mirror reflecting the snow-capped peaks—extinct volcanos— and the deep aquamarine sky. Steep terraces marked the hillsides in a mosaic of planted plots—all the work of farmers who understood the rigors of high mountain crops. Vicuñas and guanacos roamed the valley, the offspring of animals brought there by the sun-kings centuries ago. Tarma had outlasted the rulers of the four Suyus, it had lived past the gold-hungry conquerors who changed the names the Indians used to identify their world. The conquerors had taken the gold and the silver and had added only misery, wheels, wheat, and iron while they had left the ancient agrarian methods that had domesticated the pallar, groomed the teosinte from a wild seed into a multicolored staple, and tamed the papa throughout the altiplano.

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The huayco split the town in half