My short story, “The Orange-Eating Lady” appeared in The Rattling Wall, Issue 2, Winter 2012 [link]. It begins thusly:
It is said that everyone has a core belief, a philosophy of life by which all decisions are made, even if the individual is unaware of it. In Lambeth’s case, he was quite aware of his. Lambeth believed in Einstein.
Ever since he saw a TV program on Einstein’s general theory of relativity, in which it was shown that space bends around every solid object like a sheet of graph paper wrapping a present, or like water in a swimming pool molding itself around one’s body, Lambeth was happy to give a name to what he had always felt. Everything in the universe is affected and affecting – that is, affects everything else. The universe is a network of connections, and, in Lambeth’s view, those connections were happy. It was like having a very large family that stretched backward and forward in time. Reunions filled the whole universe, peopling black space and making it almost friendly.
In general, he was a happy man, due in large part, no doubt, to a trust fund. Lambeth denied that he was happy merely because he did not have to work. “I like to work,” he would say, but then, he had never done it.
It was at a party in a very large house that Lambeth felt most keenly this idea of connectedness. In fact, he felt so connected that he actually thought he was dreaming, and perhaps he was because the house itself felt very dreamlike. It was one of those huge mansions with many stairs and doors and wings. It was like a symbol for the unconscious, in which each time one opened a door, one felt a lurch of both surprise and familiarity. “Aha,” Lambeth said, throughout the night, opening and closing doors.
He saw a lady with short, straight dark hair, dressed in a white slinky dress. She was eating an orange with her back to the door. The dress showed the long S of her luscious back. She did not turn around. “Aha,” Lambeth thought.
She symbolized both death and life, Lambeth understood. She, in fact, was kind of a female sperm. It was all very interesting.
Behind another door were some very round, pink children with faces of old men and women. They clustered like plaque cells in an artery in a corner of the nursery and squinted their eyes at Lambeth. “Hmm, mmm,” Lambeth muttered and shut the door.
In another bedroom, one could see water looming silent and dangerous behind the bathroom door. It was about waist high and of a sullen gray color. One could see it from the hall door, as if waiting to spill out, because the bathroom door was partly ajar. “Now why doesn’t it flood the room?” he wondered and hurriedly drew the door closed.
He found his new friend Mark Clade in another bedroom. Like Lambeth, he was dressed in a tuxedo and looked good in it. Both men stood in front of a full length free-standing mirror in the room and admired themselves, tugging at their waistcoats and turning this way and that. They were both tall and slender, both in their 30s, with neat, slicked-back hair, so there was much to admire. . .