SSM – Day Four

Short Story Month#10 – “Toad’s Mouth” by Isabel Allende, from The Stories of Eva Luna. The stories in this collection are so wonderfully written, the language lyrical, everything so unabashedly romantic that it all just makes me want to scream, “I want to write something like this!” Allende, writing as her fictional character Eva Luna, displays so much imagination and tendency for the strikingly and unabashedly romantic and I, well, really like it that way.

The story’s title comes from the name of a trick/game that the star whore Hermelinda is best known for. It’s the trick/game where “a man could lose a month’s pay in fifteen minutes.”

Hermelinda would draw a chalk line on the floor and four steps away draw a large circle in which she lay down on her back, knees spread wide, legs golden in the light of the spirit lamps. The dark center of her body would be revealed as open as a fruit, as a merry toad’s mouth, while the air in the room grew heavy and hot.

And the players’d stand before the line and throw coins at the target. Yeah. The logistics of this bothers me, haha, but this is the story that’s stuck with me. I am Sasha Martinez. Need you wonder why?


#11 – “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan, from Stories. (To-the-point title, I know.) It’s a story that’s included in a lot of textbooks and canon-treatises and Lit readings, up there with “Dead Stars” and “Magnificence” – and I love it. I do. Hello, Miss Mijares.

Why do I like it? Because of the language, and the little details it illumines? Because of the “tall, big man, walking with an economy of movement, graceful and light, a man who knew his body and used it well”? Because of what a kick-ass heroine Miss Mijares is? Because of that winner scene where she steps off a stranded jeepney while the rains pouring? Because of the closing paragraph?

In her secret heart, Miss Mijares’ young dreams fluttered faintly to life, seeming monstrous in the rain, near this man – seeming monstrous but sweet and overwhelming. I must get away, she thought wildly, but he had moved and brushed against her, and where his touch had fallen, her flesh leaped, and she recalled how his hands had looked that first day, lain tenderly on the edge of her desk and about the wooden bird (that had looked like a moving, shining dove) and she turned to him; with her ruffles wet and wilted, in the dark she turned to him.

Fuck it, di ba? Uwian na ‘to.


#12 – “The Cannon” by Kelly Link, from Magic for Beginners. God damn it, this is a great collection of short stories, although most of them are long short stories. Haha. Ha. Anyway, Link tells the fantasy and magic in her world so matter-of-factly and it actually works. You’re not even aware of the suspension of your disbelief because the writer makes it all out to be, Fuck, why the hell wouldn’t you believe? “The Cannon” is one my favorite stories ever. It’s written in interview form, pero ang galing ng pota – I want to quote parts here, because the questions are so strange, and the answers are so bizarre and bootyful, but my mother ran away with my copy and I don’t think she wants to give it back.

So. This is a pretty useless entry then, haha.

Also, Kelly Link was the first author I thought of when I read Bret Lott’s “Family” – because they take bizarre into two different directions, and I have to admit that I like Link more than Lott. :)



About Sasha Martinez

Her sins were scarlet, but her books were read.

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