photo credit: Chuck GrimmettThe summer issue of Contrary Magazine is out, and I’m excited to have a story in there, “Hidden Tracks”–the strangest story I’ve ever written actually–right beside “Blue Moon,” a wonderful story by my friend Jodi Paloni.

Here’s the beginning of “Hidden Tracks.”

Once upon a time is what Noalee wishes she could say about this time of her life. She sighs and glances at the burgundy underbelly of the hotel awning. She was hoping travelling to a different place would help, but this trip to Atlanta, her annual visit to company headquarters, may be making things worse. The anticipation of her swim is what pulls her through a normal day. She wonders what will pull her through this one. Her eyes turn to the heavy gray sky, then to the thick, wet air. Stuck to the pavement in front of her is light pink chewing gum, all stretched out and looking like a spider web.

The concierge steps forward, dressed in a top hat and tails. White gloves. He smiles at her.

Noalee pretends she doesn’t see, looking past him toward the parking garage. She’s waiting for her rental.

“Meeting over?” he asks in a loud voice.

She nods, looking down at her chest and peeling off her name tag. She wonders if she should think of this day as abnormal.

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photo credit: Chuck Grimmett