Fiction | Short Story

Unbecoming Behavior at the St. Agnes Fair

He always smelled like fabric softener exhaust from the laundromat down our block: like blue bottles of Downy and Saturday nights, when Mami would blow dry my hair straight with dollops of Dippity-Doo.

An excerpt from the novel, The Girls in Queens, available June 14, 2022 from HarperVia.


The spinning Big Eli grew larger as we approached the St. Agnes fair, hundreds of multi-colored bulbs flashing in preset sequences from every available surface on the wheel. We jumped at balloons bursting atop open-mouthed clown busts getting shot full with water from a line of gun-wielding children aiming across a table. We heard the screams and laughter of kids on the nearly-vertical Tilt-A-Wheel, and beneath that, faintly, the beat of music playing from KTU through strategically located speakers. The air smelled of beef fired on a charcoal grill, and oily paper bags of deep-fried zeppole, coated in clouds of confectioner’s sugar.




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