I decided to write a short story inspired by two secondary characters in Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle. It’s a love story set in Santa Monica at the turn of the twentieth century. It is a stand-alone story but it will be enjoyed best by those that have read the book.
Below are the opening paragraphs. You can download the whole thing at the end.
Harris and Magnolia
The morning of Sunday, July 27, 1895, Mr. Harris Karleskint, originally from Tulsa, Indian Territory, sat on one of the benches at Linda Vista Park, in Santa Monica, and stared at the ocean.
What a magnificent view, he thought, filling his lungs with the fresh salty air. He stretched his arms. The warmth from the sun felt nice on his bare skin. Bare, because Mr. Karleskint was completely naked. Oh, yes, in his bachelor pajamas, he didn’t even have his socks on, tout à poil, like Parisians say, in the middle of Linda Vista Park, today’s Palisades Park, at six o’clock in the morning.
Back then, there were no morning joggers at such an early hour; no tourists, and definitely no homeless campers either—if you didn’t have an occupation, you didn’t get to loiter around in Santa Monica; it was either the jail or the rope. Traffic on Ocean Avenue was risible. One car going in one direction, ten minutes later, another. At that time of the day, when the sun had just come out, and when the only beings down at the beach where the stilts, the cormorants, and the seagulls, you could go as uncovered through Linda Vista Park as the first man did in Paradise, and get to enjoy the view, the air, and the sun without worry. No one else would be there to judge you.
And Harris would have been judged well, by the proper set of eyes. He was quite handsome. Nice legs, nice arms, a chest covered in manly fur, dreamy brown eyes, and a curled mustache that, even when fully dressed, could make a lady tremble, victim of her own lustful imagination.
He was a fine addition to the greenery of the park, we dare to say. A living sculpture of the germanic god Týr, resting his soul after a battle. Like a victorious god, Harris too, was covered in the blood of his enemies. Whose, he couldn’t remember. The blood was still fresh. He licked his fingers. Probably, he reckoned, based in its sweetness, from a fat person.
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