Plastic presents twelve linked short stories that unfold the tale of Debbie Pearce, a former pageant queen who struggles to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with her relentless pursuit of the American Dream.
Margaret Gracie has worked as an ESL instructor, translator, communications consultant and as a writer and editor for the federal government. Her short stories have been published in Canadian and American journals as well as in a British anthology. Plastic is her first published book of fiction. She currently lives in Victoria, BC in her dream home overlooking the harbour.
That summer I lived for Sundays. The minutes sped by when I was with Deb, while the rest of the week dragged on. Our parents didn't have money for summer camps, so Jason and I hung out with our friends on the beach and played pick-up games on the playground. My school friends complained that I worried too much about my skin and nails and they teased me about pretending I was rich when I wore the clothes Aunt Deb bought me. But when I hung out with Tiff, she made fun of me now, too.
'Wanna walk down to the beach?' she asked one Saturday afternoon at her house. She sat on the edge of the pool and kicked her feet to make waves. Late August sun burned at its brightest intensity. The city waited for the heat to break, the marine fog to roll in, anything to shatter the high pressure.
'Is your mom coming home soon? We could practice pageant walking.' I wore a pink bikini and strutted back and forth in wedge sandals, trying to sashay.
Tiff jumped up. Her green and blue tankini shimmied over her stomach. 'This is you.' She pranced around with her nose in the air, her thighs jiggling with each step. Water dribbled down her shins onto the deck.
'Stop being such a retard.'
She stuck out her tongue. 'You're the retard.'
'I'm walking the way your mom showed me.'
'My mom is a model.' Tiff picked up her lime green flip flops, sneered at them for a second then hurled one at the fence. 'You're just a wannabe.' The smack echoed across the deck.
'Oh, yeah?' I looked for something to throw but saw only furniture, pieces too big to grasp. 'Well, at least I'm beautiful.'
'Your mom.' I puffed up my chest. 'She thinks I should be her daughter.'