Hey, want a sneak peak of my story One Tiny Misstep (In Bed)? This story will appear in the What Fates Impose anthology. We’re in the final days of the Kickstarter, and only need about another $600 to fund. So chip in, and tell a friend.
The first (and only, as far as I am aware!) review of the book calls out my story:
And then there’s Beth Wodzinski’s “One Tiny Misstep (In Bed).” Holy. Shit. I don’t know what else to say about this tale of a marriage gone stale and fortune cookies and the alley outside a Chinese restaurant and… Oh my. Imaginative, realistic in its characterization, and absolutely crushing.
You know you want to read it.
Here’s the first section:
You thought this was a great idea: bring your wife back to the China Terrace, and hope that simply being in the place where you had your first fumbling dates back in college will bridge the chasm that has grown between you.
This place was all you could afford back then, but you didn’t need a restaurant to be anything more than cheap. All you needed was Sarah and the newness of your love and the promise of your future.
The China Terrace hasn’t aged well; the dragon wallpaper is peeling, the vinyl of the booths is cracked and peeling, and the whole place reeks of old cooking oil. You notice an unpleasant zoo-like odor, as well, subtle but out of place. They’re playing some kind of tacky Chinese Muzak, at a volume that makes you pay attention to it.
You and Sarah haven’t aged well in the past twenty years, either. You’ve both grown fat and placid and spend your evenings watching TV instead of changing the world or chasing your naive dreams. You were going to be a writer, remember that? Novels, plays, poetry: you’d master them all and set the world on fire. And Sarah was going to be a paleontologist, discover amazing new dinosaurs, revolutionize science with her brilliant ideas.
Instead you teach English to bored tenth-graders. Sarah is a receptionist at an insurance agency and every year complains about how her boss, Dean Wilson, grabs her ass at the company Christmas party. Though she hasn’t complained about that for a year or two, now that you think of it.
You can’t figure out how this happened. You don’t remember choosing this path; it just seemed to happen, one tiny unnoticeable misstep after another, until you’re in this ancient stinking restaurant, trying to save your marriage with forced conversation and greasy egg rolls.
Finally, mercifully, the waiter clears your plates of half-eaten chow mein, and brings your fortune cookies. You used to love to read each other’s fortunes, and add “in bed” to the end. You thought you were so clever. You thought you were in love.
The cookie cracks in your hand. You pull out the fortune and flip it over. “YOUR WIFE IS FUCKING HER BOSS,” it says, “IN BED.”
It’s like a punch to the stomach, but suddenly everything makes sense.
That’s why she started wearing makeup to work, after years of not bothering.
That’s why she doesn’t complain about him grabbing her ass any more.
But suddenly nothing makes sense. This is not how fortune cookies work. You look at the slip of paper, but the words do not change. It must be someone in the kitchen, just screwing with your head. Some bored college student, probably.
You look at Sarah, and she’s waiting for you to tell her what your fortune says.
If you ask her when she started being a lying whore, go to #2.
If you demand to speak to the manager, go to #3.
If you want to read the rest, hit up the Kickstarter and make sure this book gets published. Thank you!