Fall/Winter 2016

Monique Antonette Lewis


Elise and Antonia stop in front of a store window to gawk at a dress that only one of them can afford.
“I was on my way to the bank yesterday and there was a psychic handing out pamphlets for readings. I told her I wasn’t interested. But she followed me down the street anyway saying there was this energy coming from me and I did not want to miss the message.”
“What was the message?” Antonia asks.
“She said I was cursed and that’s why men don’t stay with me.”
Antonia curls her lips. “That’s just New York. It’s a fuckin’ disease. My aunt says there is something wrong with nine out of ten men. My therapist said he would go even further to say forty-nine out of fifty. Most of us are infected. So it’s a lot of shit you have to sift through.” Antonia waves her arms before an invisible mess.
After lunch on the pier followed by a stroll along the Hudson River, Elise makes a list in her bedroom of what she’ll do different going forward to beat the curse.
If he doesn’t like the Beatles, cross him off the list.
If his mother’s name comes up twice on the first date, cross him off the list.
If his under nails are dirty, cross him off the list.
If he knows what a marionette is, cross him off the list.
If he owns more than one cat, cross him off the list.
If he lathers himself in lotion more than I do, cross him off the list.
If he doesn’t offer to share his dessert, cross him off the list.
If the train ride to his place takes more than thirty minutes, cross him off the list
If he asks to see my feet, kick him off the list.
If he roots against the Dallas Cowboys, he’s dead to me.
Elise reads the list twice, folds it and stores it in her drawer, thinking she has a roadmap to romance and says to herself, “I’m not cursed.”


Monique Antonette Lewis is the founder of At The Inkwell, which hosts literary readings across major cities in the US and in London. She is also annual reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship.



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