The first image of “Moontanning, A Report” coalesced on a glorious summer’s night. Walking outside under a full moon, I pictured a runaway in a forest’s clearing. He was on the ground, in a face-up suntanning position. At the time I pictured a kid having run away from home in order to prove to doubting parents that a tan from moonlight wasn’t a scientific impossibility.
In the interim between that evening (like, three years ago) and the version published in Plenitude Magazine, the plot stuck with the kid. Other than that, though, it grew in an altogether different direction.
Here’s how it begins:
Moontanning, A Report
Using a plastic tool, Mother had demonstrated the art of peeling a navel orange four breakfasts in a row. I’d understood in about a second. Slice, slice, slice, slice. “There’s a technique to it too,” she told me. “From north pole to south in one precision movement. Then repeat.”
“Longitude, never latitude,” Mother said. “Take that to your Mr. Snikes.” My teacher had the special power, she’d decided, to curdle milk with his sour outlook. She thought learning should be fun, an adventure.
But after the first lesson, watching her slide the blade’s tip slowly toward the navel wasn’t fun.
(The rest can be found here. I hope you enjoy it!)