Thursday, November 7, 2013
New Release from Changeling Press - Sex After Death
Read an excerpt:
Sex After Death
“Oh, isn’t he cute?” Katy’s friend’s voice carried all the way across the curio shop. Katy glanced over to spot what Ginger had picked out. It seemed to be a vase of some sort made of dark material.
“This’ll make a great gag gift for Sylvia,” Ginger said. “Check it out.”
Katy joined Ginger and got a better view of the thing. Not a vase but a planter designed to be filled with soil and a bit of greenery. The shape had clearly caught Ginger’s attention - the carved figure of a man, anatomically correct with a large sac and a flaccid member of truly impressive proportions.
“I think you’re onto something,” Katy said. “We could have all kinds of fun with this at Sylvia’s bridal shower.”
Katy took the little man from Ginger and hefted him. “Heavy. Must be stone of some kind.”
“Marble of a very rare dark color,” a male voice said from behind her.
She nearly jumped. The owner of the store - a small man with thinning hair and a pencil mustache - had crept up on them. “Very old. Ancient, in fact, going back to the reign of Tiberius.”
“You’ve had it carbon dated, have you?” Katy asked him.
“Not necessary,” he said. “The style is recognized by collectors. There‘s an engraving at the bottom.”
Katy squinted but couldn’t make out much of the writing. It was faded with time and in a language she didn’t understand, making it ever more difficult to decipher. “What does it say?”
“The closest anyone can tell is coitus post mortem,” he answered.
Ginger giggled and put her fingers over her mouth. “That sounds like it means sex after death.”
“It does.” The man didn’t crack a smile. Clearly, he was serious.
“But even if you believe in life after death,” Katy said. “Sex after death? Angels getting it on? I mean, really.”
“What I believe doesn’t matter. The inscription says sex after death.” The man almost rolled his eyes. Clearly, he’d had this conversation before.
Freaking weird, but appealing, too. A guy so well endowed. An eternity of really great sex. Maybe he was a fertility icon or the gods’ gift to all womankind. In a few weeks, he‘d serve as a centerpiece at a rowdy bridal shower. “How much do you want for it?”
The owner smoothed his mustache with his fingertips for a moment. “I could part with it for twenty dollars.”
“For something ancient with fine detail?” Katy’s antennae went up. If something sounded too good to be true, it usually wasn’t on the level.
Ginger tugged her elbow. “Buy it. It’s perfect.”
She really ought to. At this price, who cared if it turned out to be something mass-produced to fool the yokels? It would make a great shower gift. They’d all get a bit tipsy on champagne and make up bawdy stories about the statue and what they‘d do with a thing as big as his.
Still, the skeptic in her wanted answers. “Seriously, why the low price?”
The man gave her a sugary-sweet smile. “I’ll be perfectly honest with you, Miss…”
“Wilson,” she supplied.
“Miss Wilson,” he said. “Only women ever buy this piece, and they invariably return it and want their money back.”
She turned the planter over and around, searching for cracks and not finding any. “What’s wrong with it?”
“The ladies never say, and I don’t question them. I like to keep my customers happy.”
“I see,” she said. Although she didn’t. Not at all. Not knowing its true origins or value, she wouldn’t pay much more for this piece. But twenty dollars? What the heck?
“I get tired of dusting it,” the man said. “For twenty dollars, you can dust it for a while.”
“Fine. I will.” She turned toward Ginger. “What should we plant in this?
“An asparagus fern would look like crazy green hair,” Ginger said.
“Or a really phallic cactus.”
“Oh, you mustn’t plant anything in it,” the man said. “Unless you want the plant to die.”
“What, is it toxic?” Katy set the planter back on the display table.
“Not at all, but you can’t get it wet, so you can’t water the plant.” The man handed it back to her. “Otherwise, it’s perfectly safe.”
Ginger stared at the planter and then the man. “What do you mean ‘otherwise’?”
“It’s cursed.” The man smiled and played with his mustache again.
Ginger’s eyes widened. “Wow.”
“Oh, come on,” Katy said.
“You don’t believe in curses, Miss Wilson?” If the man’s mustache had had a long enough end, he’d be twirling it by now.
“I don’t,” she said. “Especially about little men who cost twenty dollars.”
“I hardly believed it myself until an old woman came into my shop one day and recognized it. She claimed the curse was why my customers kept returning it,” he said. “She told me there’d been a death associated with it.”
“Did it kill any of the women who bought it from you?” Ginger asked.
“Not a one, but I’ll tell you…“ The man leaned toward them as if trying to keep the story secret when, in fact, there wasn’t anyone else in the shop. “They didn’t seem normal. They had a look in their eyes…”
Ginger got caught up in his BS, inclining her head toward his. “What kind of look?”
“Feverish,” he said, almost in a whisper. “Obsessed.”
“I promise not to get obsessed with him, even if he is decently hung,” Katy said.
“Fine,” the man said. “Keep him dry, and don’t return him.”