One, Two, Buckle...
It thudded off the right front tire like a small furry animal caught in the center of the road. But it wasn't a small furry animal - she almost wished it had been - it was a shoe, and the damned thing seemed to be haunting her. She'd first seen it a couple of weeks earlier on the shoulder of the road, pointing toward the car and had an almost irresistible urge to swerve to avoid it, sure that it would run in front of the car. But how could one shoe run? The whole thing wouldn't have seemed so dumb if there had been two shoes, but what would have activated one shoe? She reached for the radio hoping the sound would bring her back to reality. Here she was -- a sensible grown, woman, a professional for God's sake, spooked by a shoe that some idiot had probably lost from a bag headed for the Salvation Army...
The radio blared. A couple of fools were blathering on a talk show. She smiled briefly at the thought of them seriously discussing how people managed to lose clothing along the side of the road. Another jab eliminated the blatherers and brought a Sibelius concerto. Breathing deeply, she attempted to sink into the music. Ordinarily she loved the drive out of the city and through the high desert to her home. Those nights when she made the entire thirty miles without encountering another car and could pretend that the whole area was hers were a real triumph. Humans' trash along the road always blurred the victory a little because it was evidence that others had been here.
"How can you stand it alone out there?" people would ask, unaware that almost every moment she spent in the city was agony as she was battered by the untrammeled emotions of the crowds that swirled around her. Even in the privacy of her office, she could feel the tensions, the hostilities and insecurities of those around her filtering through the walls. She often wondered if it would be possible to create a shield against these things, but to attempt research would involve admitting her disability and would be unsafe at the least, perhaps landing her in a mental hospital or drugged out of her mind on the streets. So she endured the daytime flaying, sinking into the balm of solitude and quiet of her refuge to regenerate before heading back to the city the next day.
Somehow she had been born without the filters that enable most of the human race to make its obtuse way through life, as oblivious to the stew of emotions around it as to the presence of infra-red rays or the molecular dance within them. A true outsider, she had spent most of her life clawing for moments when immense amounts of space dissipated the vibrations of the others. This didn't mean that she could not be lonely, for lonely she was for one of her own kind. On many occasions she had met partial outsiders and been deluded momentarily by them, always emerging from the relationship somehow soiled and diminished until she grew a new layer of protective skin. Now she had come to terms with her solitary existence. It would have to do.
Music was a comfort. Wagner and Strauss had cushioned their own agonies with layers of melody, notes which intercepted the waves of human goo and buffered it.
Oddly, it was only technical man that seemed to shoot out these bolts of energy that shook her so terribly. The tribal peoples that she had spent time with did not seem to do this. Once an ancient shaman had held her hand, shaking his head sympathetically and she knew that he understood. While he held her hand, their surroundings dropped away and the two of them soared into a frosty realm of ice- silvered peaks and molten blue sky. Here she confronted a winged wolf, first silhouetted against the peaks then face to face. She had thrown her arms around the massive neck and buried her face in the soft whipped- cream ruff. Never had she known such peace and wonder. Overhead a pure white hawk soared before landing on her shoulders leaving faint claw prints that she would carry forever, a mark of protection. They were encircled and protected by a huge silver-and-gold snake with emerald eyes who touched her breast briefly before resting his head on his tail, completing the circle. She wanted to stay like that forever, and fought being pulled back, but her grip loosened on the wolf, which soared to a peak, the hawk and snake disappearing at the same time. She was sobbing when she awoke, still clutching the old shaman's hand.
He knew her daily crucifixion, because he suffered he same thing, but he had shown her power animals. After that, she moved to the forest and waited, for what she knew not. She sincerely hoped that the shoe was not a symbol of what lay ahead.
Unlocking the door of her bungalow, she stepped inside pressing her back against the door, one hand still on the knob. Long John Silver screeched a greeting. She had picked up the parrot out of pity at a pet shop. No one wanted him because he spoke only Urdu, but she rather liked the idea, and they had been together ever since.
"Hi, Johnny," she opened the cage and he rode out on her arm. He replied something that sounded like Chello and flapped his wings. "What's wrong, old buddy?" He flapped again and crawled back into his cage. She looked around, but things seeme d normal. Perhaps she should take him to the vet.
Hungry, she grabbed a couple of boxes of frozen vegetables from the freezer, put them into the microwave, punched the buttons, poured a glass of wine and sat at the kitchen table, kicking off her shoes. Her legs were tired and she stretched them out under the table slumping down in the chair. At full slump, her bare foot touched something that felt suspiciously like a shoe. Looking down, she saw that indeed it was an alien shoe, the mate to the one in the road. Fighting off panic, she reached down and picked it up by the untied strings. It jerked in her hand as she opened the door and pitched it as far as she could. "Shit." She gave herself long enough only for that short expletive before slamming and locking the door, running to all of the windows to be sure that they were closed, latching the storm shutters and closing the flue on the fireplace. Finally stopping at the table again, she took a healthy sip of the cabernet. "Double shit." The bell on the microwave had long since gone off, but she ignored the veggies, leaving them to sog in their cardboard coffins.
Long John squawked and she thrust her arm into the cage again. This time he got out. She put on her protective shoulder pad and lifted him to her shoulder where he pressed himself against her ear. His firm, feathery little body felt good and she was grateful for him. As he was no longer agitated, she assumed that they were safe for the moment and poured another glass of wine, no longer interested in eating. Leaving the wine untouched, she checked the windows and doors once more, then lay on the bedspread to await morning. Her dreams, if such they were, were filled with the sound of one shoe scuffling around her house, kicking at the siding and then hurling itself with great regularity at the door, unable to gain any altitude. It seemed limited in its capacities, but it was angry. Had anyone else ever been confronted by an angry shoe? When she awoke, she was saying in a child's voice the old nursery rhyme, One, two, buckle my shoe. This shoe didn't have buckles. It tied.
Deciding that it was too risky to shower -- she never had recovered from Psycho -- she threw her clothes on, put lots of food and water out for Long John, leaving him loose so that he could take care of himself until someone came if something happened to her, gulped a cup of coffee and gingerly opened the door. The shoe wasn't there, so she made a head-run for the car, screeching out of the driveway and onto the road.
She hadn't gone far before she felt something move ratlike around her ankles. It was the shoe. Shuddering, she reached down and pulled it off her instep, jamming it between her back and the seat while she ground down the window. It jerked in her hand, almost escaping before she managed to throw it out of the window near where she had almost hit its mate the night before.
After driving almost a mile, she turned around and drove back to see what state the shoes were in. Her daddy had told her never to leave the scene of a battle before it was finished. For a moment, she smelled the combination of starched shirt and clean perspiration that meant her father. "Oh Daddy, I wish you were here now," she whispered as she got out of the car.
The shoe that she'd thrown out of the car had slowly scraped its way to the side of the road where its equally scuffed partner lay on its side, exposing a hole in the sole. By now more interested than frightened, rather as one is after winning a battle with a rodent, she contemplated her options. Oddly she felt almost sorry for the damned things. They looked so defeated, with their run-over heels, shaggy laces and tongues hanging out. They showed no inclination to move.
Returning to the car, she wrestled the heavy Coleman cooler with its strong latch out of the trunk, turned it on its side and used a stick to prod the shoes inside, slamming shut the lid, and closing her ears to the scuffling inside while she wedged it in her trunk and shut the lid.
The remainder of the drive to the city was uneventful. The radio cranked to full blast sang of love and death on the country roads. Hungry by now, she stopped at a bakery to pick up a cinnamon roll and coffee and headed for the park by the office to eat. She was way too early for work.
The day passed uneventfully, as did the drive home. It was easier with the shoes ensconced in the car than worrying about them on the road.
She ate dinner before bringing in the cooler and opening it on the kitchen table. The shoes like good children were quiet, standing side by side, their laces neatly tied.
"What are you guys?" There was no answer. "If I let you stay, will you be good?"
The heels made a click.
She put them in her bedroom closet, leaving the door open. They stayed until she left the room and then dragged out to the hearth, still not in very good shape, and settled down.
Long John Silver flapped and spewed a stream of Urdu invective, before he settled on his perch, glaring balefully at the shoes which made a shuffling run at him when she turned her back.
Sitting in front of the fire, she picked up her needlepoint, a copy of a wonderful Mogul hunting print, and laid it down almost as quickly. She was dreadfully tired. Too tired even to shower, she undressed, crawled under the covers and was asleep almost before her head hit the pillow.
The shoes sneaked in and arranged themselves under the edge of her bed. Mission accomplished.
She began to dream. Her old shaman was there. Behind him the glorious wolf, the white hawk and the silver snake. Standing in the circle made by the snake, he beat a large hula-hoop-size Eskimo drum and sang, "One, two, buckle my shoe. . . ." She knew that by adopting the shoes, she had passed one test. His next words were carried away in a swirl of mist.
When the early dawn wakened her, her face was smashed into her pillow and she was muttering. "Three, four, close the door." What door? She sat up and tried to remember the rest of the rhyme. "Five, six, pick up sticks." What was next? "Seven, eight...lay them straight." Then "Nine, ten, a big fat her. Eleven, twelve, dig and delve." She had no idea what came next.
What kind of door did she need to close? The shoes didn't have buckles. Perhaps the door wasn't a door, but a gate. She got out of bed and uncovered Long John's cage and opened his little gate before making coffee. The shoes followed her out and settled on the hearth again. They seemed content, but she wished they were more attractive and thought of polishing them. It had been a long time since she'd had a man's shoes under her bed. Her mother had always said the worst part of dealing with a dead person's belongings was taking care of the shoes that carried the impress of the owner's personality. These shoes were worn, but she was darned if she could read their owner's personality.
Her second cup of coffee was steaming in front of her when she heard the sound of tires on the gravel outside, then feet crunching to the front door. Fear almost stopped her heart. No one came here.
The loud battering at the front door had to be made with an object, not a hand. She decided not to answer. Long John and the shoes held their tongues.
"You in there?" She was silent. "Officer of the Law! I'd rather not break down the door."
"Just a minute. I'm coming." Tiptoeing to the door, she slid the chain latch in place before opening the door the crack that the chain allowed. She could see the black and white police car behind its owner.
"Y'awl all right?" She nodded. "Can I come in?"
She slipped off the latch and stood aside to allow him to enter, hoping desperately that she was masking her fear under cold reserve.
"Y'awl here alone?" He was a huge man; his body, beginning to run to fat, strained the polyester of his uniform. A toothy smile gashed menacing in his large face. He was a bully. Generations of lynchings and witch burnings lay under the pallor of that white skin.
"No. My boy friend's still asleep, if you haven't wakened him with all that noise." Her eyes moved to the shoes standing quietly by the hearth, knowing that his would follow.
"I'm new in the area," he drawled, "and I heard that you were here alone, so I thought that I'd better drop by and let you know that I'd be checking on you. You aren't alone anymore." Once more, the menacing smile.
"I'm quite self-sufficient, thank you." She stood with her hand on the door knob. "Now, if you will excuse me, I must get ready for work."
"Not just yet. There's funny things in these hills. Ma'am." He made the ma'am sound like an insult. "Don't want to have to scoop up your dead body."
"What kind of funny things, Officer?" She said officer in the same way that he had said ma'am. Anger flickered across his face.
"Cults, sacrifices, Satan worship, all that stuff. . . ." His big face lowered to hers. She stood her ground.
"Someone's been putting you on. Nothing goes on here. I'd have known if it did. Until now, things have been entirely peaceful."
"Well Ma'am, I've heard there's wolves up here too. We'll put out traps and get rid of all that vermin. You're not alone anymore. No Ma'am, we're taking over."
She stared at him, not allowing her face to change expression. "I really must wake Steve and get ready for work. So if you don't mind. . . ." The name on the badge burned into her memory. It was Hurtz, Milo Hurtz. "Thank you for coming, Officer Hurtz. I'll be sure to call you if I need you."
He sat in the police car watching the house for several minutes after he had taken his leering leave.
Her fortress was breached.
Picking up the shoes, she hugged them to her. "Thanks guys, whatever you are." Then she went into action, constructing the dummy that would hopefully delude Milo into believing that her lover rode beside her. She drove hat pins which she'd once collected through the neck of a styrofoam wig stand, fastening it to the top of a dressmaker's dummy that she had purchased in a moment of misplaced domesticity. It took longer that she had anticipated to smear makeup over the dummy's face - she didn't want it to look as though she were riding with a ghost - and apply crude features using cosmetics as paints. An old Indiana Jones-type fedora pulled down over the eyes would cover a lot of sins. A jacket slipped on the shoulders, sleeves stuffed with newspapers made up the rest of her ersatz lover.
Carrying him to the car, she reclined the passenger set about halfway and fastened him in with the seat belt. He would look like he was napping, she hoped. "Well, lover, at least you keep your mouth shut." She patted his shoulder and went back into the house after her purse.
Looking at the lone coffee cup on the table, she got out another setting of dishes, dirtied them and left them on the table to make it look as though two had breakfasted. Going into the bathroom, she wet an extra towel, scraped a foam-laden razor over her legs to gather some whiskers and left it on the sink after splashing a lot of water around. "Lover, you are a slob, but I adore you."
Three, four, close the door.
Certainly she would keep the door closed on Milo, but she wasn't sure that was what the rhyme meant. She carried the shoes into the bedroom and put them under the bed in the same place that they had spent the night. "You guys stay here. If Milo sees you running around empty, he'll know I'm alone."
Three, four, close the door.
With that she locked the front door. What she needed was a gate to bar Milo and his buddies from her forest. She didn't dare call the police and complain. They were a force of good old boys from the South who had come west and taken over the politics from the laid-back types who lived here. Milo was probably the chief's cousin. Whatever was done could not be done through channels, certainly not normal channels. She had a momentary flash of her shaman beating his drum.
She was about ten miles down the road when Milo sped past too fast to see that the figure beside her was not real. At the city, she parked in an underground parking garage and dismantled the dummy, whom she'd come to think of as Clyde, stuffing his parts in a garbage sack with some old clothes laid on top. The sack could have passed for laundry or something destined for Goodwill.
She rumpled her blouse a bit and smeared her lipstick before emerging from the garage to drive to that of her own building. "O.K. girl, look starry eyed," she said to herself. A couple of minutes late by design, she sat in her office and pretended to be trying to compose herself.
"Well Sweetie, got a lover?" It was Harry, a salesman version of Milo. They probably knew each other. This was exactly what she had hoped.
"Why should you say that, Harry?" She pretended confusion, rearranging her clothes and furtively patting her hair.
He hooted again. "So the old iron virgin got it on! Well, I'll be damned." He laughed and moved on to whisper at the next desk, after making an obscene gesture with his tongue and cupped hand.
Her loathing almost got the better of her, but he was working on schedule, totally predictable, and he was doing what she needed done - spreading the word that she had a man.
Three, four, close the door.
Maybe it was this place that she needed to close the door on. She did have enough money to start somewhere else, but how could she know whether the trouble would start again. Tomorrow she would give notice. She would say she was getting married. An old beau recently widowed. Yes, they were very happy. They were moving to New Zealand to raise deer. He had relatives there.
Her office mates would be delighted at this display of normalcy on her part, which would confirm their own unutterable normalcy. They would take up a collection and buy her a butter dish.
After work she stopped at the small grocery she frequented in preference to the large supermarket and purchased a double supply of groceries. "Yes," she smiled, "I do have company." Milo's spies could lurk even behind the meat counter. In fact a butcher shop was a good place for butchers.
Hoping to beat the storm that was gathering, she drove home rapidly and entered her house just as the first large drops hit the ground.
The shoes emerged from her room. What's the matter, you guys looking for cold feet?" she laughed, then almost screamed when a heartstopping banging shattered the silence.
"Open up! Officer Hurtz! Drug bust! Hands up!"
She opened the door and jumped back just in time to keep him from banging her with it. No, it's three, four, Shut the door. She eyed him coldly, her calm belying the pounding of her heart. Rain and wind swept in behind him. "Close the door behind you," she said coldly. Slamming it shut behind him, Milo advanced. "Where's your warrant?"
He loomed over her. "Girl, I don't need no warrant. Not for friends like us. That was a dumb stunt, pretending the boy friend. I just told everyone it was me. You are my gal, when I want you."
One heavy-fingered white hand reached out and ripped her blouse, uncovering her breast. She fought for self-control. She had to play for time. He planned to rape her, perhaps murder her. She had to think. Long John was nowhere to be seen. The shoes were silent by the fire. Time. She needed time.
Giving a seductive twist that made the dark brown of her uncovered breast stand out sharply, contrasting with the white of her blouse, she looked up at him through long lashes. "Hey, you don't have to rough me up. It's been a long time since I had a big strong man to take care of me. I never had a policeman. You want some wine? We might as well be civilized."
His erection strained against the rain-damp polyester of his uniform pants. She brushed the back of her hand against it as she reached for the wine bottle.
Milo grinned. She was a slut. She deserved whatever he wanted to ram home in her. He'd let her go through her little act. Maybe she hadn't had a real man before --a white man.
She rubbed the front of his pants with one hand while she poured wine with the other, then drank staring at him over the rim of her glass. He could not know what she was summoning.
Ripping at the other side of her blouse, he exposed the other breast, then lowered his big white face and sucked painfully at it. "Hey, don't you give chocolate milk? You better or you'll be sorry." She almost screamed as his teeth ripped into her other nipple. "Come on, give. I never had no titty milk."
He pulled his face away. "That wasn't good. Holding out on me wasn't good." Gripping her against him with one arm, he worked at the buckle on his pants.
One, two, buckle my shoe.
Giving up on the buckle, he unzipped and pulled out his pig-pink member. "I'm gonna gut you like a trout." Pushing her down, holding an arm across her neck, he fought to get her underpants off. She had turned to dead weight, her mind far from him to where the shaman beat a drum.
Suddenly she was back. Long John had launched a surprise attack at Milo's eyes, a feathery fury that caused him to jump up, giving her an opportunity to scramble to her feet. Then he tripped on a shoe that slid under his foot at the opportune moment and went down on his back, hitting his head, stunned but not dead, his uncircumcised penis a limp one-eyed slug curled on the polyester of his pants.
Five, six, pick up sticks.
His heavy nightstick lay near him. She picked it up and, with all of her strength, delivered a blow to his Adam's apple. Then another, and another. It was enough.
Seven, eight, lay them straight.
As the adrenaline subsided, she began to feel the pain in her blood-smeared breasts. Looking down, she shuddered at the teeth marks. Before she stumbled to the sink, she dragged a table cloth out of a drawer and threw it over Milo, covering the penis and equally repulsive face. At the sink she grabbed a bottle of detergent and squirted the yellow, lemon-scented liquid into her wounds, writhing and gasping as she did so. She had to get clean. Next she leaned over the sink and rinsed herself. God, she hoped those teeth marks wouldn't keloid.
She needed to be calm. There had to be time before his friends came looking. She made a cup of tea and sat on the hearth, absently stroking one of the shoes.
Seven, eight, lay them straight.
She had to do something with Milo and with the car.
The plot of every murder mystery she had ever read ran through her head. How to dispose of a body. The murderers always got caught in these stories. She hadn't murdered him though. She had killed him in self-defense. Certainly her wounds should be proof of that. She would just call the police and that would be that. Of course she knew better. She was black and female and Milo was a white, male good ol' boy. It would all be her fault.
Five, six, pick up sticks kept running through her head like the refrain of a song that one can't get rid of.
"Yarrow-sticks." She almost yelled when that came to her. Of course, the I Ching. Somewhere, a shaman smiled as he thumped first one side and then the other of his great hoop drum.
Moving gingerly around Milo, she got the yarrow-sticks out of the drawer and took the I Ching down from the shelf. "I'll tell you what Universe, I'm just going to have to take what comes up because I am in no shape to concentrate."
Expertly, she divided the stalks. Hopefully she would be able to understand the advice. The hexagram was Number 10: Lu/Treading.
Her Baynes translation said:
Treading. Treading upon the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success.
Yes, but does it bite the lady? She tried to remember the significance of the lady and the tiger, but couldn't. She had a moving line and went to nine in the fifth place:
Resolute conduct. Perseverance with awareness of danger.
Talk about belaboring the obvious.
Realization that her breathing had calmed fortified her and she cast the fortune telling sticks once more. This time the hexagram was Number 51: Chen/The Arousing (Shock, Thunder) said the book. Shock brings success. Shock comes -- oh, oh,!
Laughing words -- ha, ha!
The shock terrifies for a hundred miles
And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.
Obviously she needed to remain calm. There was plenty of thunder. The lights flickered. She went to the pantry and came out with her Coleman electric lantern and set it up ready for the inevitable power failure. At the least the storm bought her time.
She divided the yarrow-stalks again. This time the hexagram was Number 49: Ko/Revolution.
Revolution. On your own day You are believed. Supreme Success. Furthering through perseverance. Remorse disappears.
She was never certain just why she fooled with the I Ching, because she always ended even more confused, or thought she was more confused than she had been when she had begun. Hearing a sound, she looked at the body at her feet. She'd heard somewhere that dead bodies made a lot of sounds as gases and liquids shifted. A stain was creeping out from the edges of the table cloth. She gagged, then started to cry. It was too much. He was too big. She could never carry him.
Slowly the outside door inched open. She caught her breath. The fingers that encased the doorjamb were huge. Then she was laughing and crying. "Henry! Dear, dear Hen come in!" She was saved.
Nine, ten, a big fat Hen.
Hen was a huge linebacker of a man. At 6'6" and two hundred and thirty pounds, he dwarfed the body on the floor. Slowly he looked from her to Milo and back. A simple man seemingly on the edge of retardation, he had fled to a cabin deep in the hills. He grew most of his food and seldom ventured to town. He liked her and in his own way tried to keep an eye on her to keep her safe.
His eyes filled with tears when he saw her ravaged breasts before she pulled the tatters of her blouse across herself. "Help me, Hen."
He pulled the tablecloth off Milo and stared at the corpse. "Ohhh no," he kept saying. First he stuffed Milo's penis back into his pants and zipped him up. Then he asked for a trash bag into which he stuffed Milo's leaking lower half before hoisting him over his shoulder and carrying him to the police car where he struggled him into the passenger seat. Returning to the house, he pulled her from the floor where she was sobbing and dabbing ineffectually at the mess that Milo had left on the floor.
"Here sit down. I'll do that." He took wads of paper towels and scoured the floor, burning the remains in the fireplace.
"We have to get him away. You have to drive."
"The S curve on the bluff. We'll drive him off it and hike back."
She went for a sweatshirt, grimacing as she pulled it over her damaged chest. When she emerged from the bedroom, Hen was standing in the kitchen with Milo's shiny boots in his hand. "Put these on."
Boots on, she clumped out to the car like a kid playing dress up.
"Drive to the curve. I'll meet you there." Hen faded into the darkness.
She backed slowly toward the road, afraid to turn the lights on, revolted by the figure swaying next to her. She stopped at the crossroads as a pair of headlights appeared, then disappeared. It was a short distance to the curve. Hen waited. His intellect may not have been great, but his survival instincts were sure.
He stood with her tennis shoes in his hand. "Take off his boots. I have to put them back on him." He struggled Milo back into the driver's seat, slit the trash bag to get it off without smearing the mess any worse than necessary and stuffed Milo's feet into his boots. Hen wore gloves as she had done. The black-and-white police car was an automatic. Turning the key on, he put the car in drive and jumped free as both car and Milo went off the curve and burst into flames. Then he filled the trash bag with rocks and mud and threw it over the Point.
She stood unmoving, a drowned mouse, watching until he returned and literally picked her up, obliterating the few prints she had made. "It's time to take you home." Her hundred and ten pounds wasn't much of a load for him. He zigzagged through the bushes to make any kind of trail almost impossible to follow, if it were not wiped out by the rain which had reached deluge proportions. Soon they were at her home where Long John Silver and a pair of shoes waited.
She took a long look at him. Something was different. "Now let me take care of you," she said, putting coffee on and opening a can of soup to begin warming. Hen sat looking at the remains of his shoes. Ancient jogging shoes, they hadn't been much to start with, but were now completely ruined. Going to the bedroom, she returned with a pair of clean socks. Putting them on, he hesitated over his old shoes. At this point, the other shoes walked over and stopped by his feet.
"One, two, buckle my shoe," he sing-songed.
He met her gaze, dropping the mask of retardation. The copper skin under the sleek black hair glowed with health.
"What are you?" she whispered.
"Just a man looking for his shoes that got away," he laughed. Like a male Cinderella, he slipped them on his feet.
Somewhere a shaman smiled as he hit first one side and then another of his big hoop drum. He wasn't the only one.
Felicia Florine Campbell's interests range from Popular Culture to Asian Studies. In research, she is best known for her pioneering work in gambling behavior and the literature of risk taking. She chairs the Asian Studies Committee and is Acting Director of the Asian Studies Center. For the past twenty one years she has been Executive Director of the Far West Popular and American Culture Associations, Editor of Popular Culture Review, and Chair and Organizer of the groups' annual conference which meets in Las Vegas. Among the courses she teaches at UNLV are Chaos Theory and Literature, Literature and Film East/West, Environmental Literature, Adventure in Literature and Film and Asian Literature. Her erzahlungen appear regularly in Danse Macabre; another of her short stories recently appeared in the Las Vegas Noir anthology, from Akashic Press' acclaimed mystery series.