We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this? is a collection of six short stories that illustrate the lives of many Latinxs in the gay and lesbian community. Author Achy Obejas digs into the minds of marginalized people to give them their own voice. Their voices are comprised of personal memories, other people’s lives, and some fiction. Obejas provides an important narration for those who rarely get the chance to write, or even get the chance to speak, due to society’s harsh labels.
For instance, “Wrecks,” Obejas’s first short story, falls into the theme of self-destruction and the destructive course we take after a falling out. The first paragraph introduces us to a young woman who is ensuring she purchases the right insurance — that is, it should include Collison, not just liability. It’s humorous, really, she admits to driving recklessly after every breakup, yet she refuses to accept her demise. She gives us a list of her exes and the car crash that went along with each breakup.
First, Loretta, whom she says caused her to drive her car into a tree, making it inoperable. But before that, Doris, who caused her, as she says, to drive into a pole on an icy day in Michigan. All of this is important because she foresees the accident that will be, now that she has broken up with her former-girlfriend, Sandra. The car accidents are not enough for this young woman, as she continues down the road, falling into deeper, more horrific escapades, which include others. This young woman illustrates for the reader a universal perspective of anger and heartbreak, which can lead to a swirling demise either down a lonely, dark, icy highway somewhere off in Michigan, or up Lake Shore Drive on a sunny, well-lit day.
An introductory note on the short story “Jamie” by Gina Capperino:
I used to live in a small suburb close to Midway airport — it wasn’t the best area, but I was too young to notice what was really around me. I fell in love with the rainy days in my neighborhood because there would always be a lingering fog that was hard to describe in such a small amount of words. Being a dog person, I was always looking to tell a story about how letting go can be for the better.
Gina Capperino is a junior at Lewis University and a member of the Jet Fuel Review staff.
Ramsey Campbell’s “No Strings” is a taut little horror story about Phil Linford, a radio show host. One night after his show, he finds a violinist sitting outside the station, playing a perfect imitation of a radio song. Hoping to give the violinist an audition, Linford races after him, only to be distracted by a cry for help from a derelict building. What he discovers inside will change his life forever.
While not an extraordinarily complex story, “No Strings” seems to be a cautionary tale of how altruism can be a double-edged sword: while Linford’s motives are noble, his desire to help ultimately leads to his undoing. I like how the story paints Linford as an average person trying to help others, but is unsatisfied with his status as a late-night radio host, as it leaves no room to talk about things that really matter. Instead, he’s met with apathy and even hostility when discussing things like homelessness. I think that sort of thing is par for the course nowadays, so Linford is easy to empathize with.
It’s a quick read, so feel free to check this one out.
— Mike Malan, Blogger
Editor’s Note: Mike Malan recently graduated from Lewis University with a degree in English with a sub-speciality in Creative Writing. Mike especially enjoys writing gothic, Poe and all things that chill your bones. He is a dark writer but you can find him dabbling in politics. He is also interested in the editing process and hopes that you will enjoy his work.