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First Page: Epic Fan

First Page: Epic Fan

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

“If I never see another half caff, soy milk, sugar free vanilla latte again, it will be too soon.” I grumbled and popped a lid on top of the paper coffee cup in front of me. Suck it up Rose. You’ve got twelve more hours of this. I turned the coffee cup to read the name scrawled on the side.

“Uh, Thor?” I yelled over the din of the tightly packed crowd. A stocky guy, dressed in an ill fitting comic hero costume barged forward. His stubby fingers made grabby hands as he elbowed through the crowd to claim his order. He snatched it from me, causing hot coffee to spill out of the lid and onto my hand.

“Have a great day!” I said, forcing a smile even as I rubbed the burn. Asshole.

I grabbed the next cup and shouted the name.


Another cos-player, dressed as a mythical hero strode towards me to retrieve his coffee. Black, no sugar. Now this guy knew how to work a costume. Tall, pale and handsome with a dark cloak that swept behind him dramatically as he walked, I recognized his character at once. I also recognized an opportunity. Trickster God of Asgard indeed.

“My Lord!” I greeted him.

He raised an eyebrow.

“Your nemesis, your brother – he went that way.” I thumbed towards the side door.

“He’s drinking a soy vanilla latte.” I whispered conspiratorially and waggled my eyebrows. The cos-player tipped his considerable head gear towards me in thanks, grinning in anticipation of what promised to be an exciting confrontation.

Shame to miss the fun. I thought, amused at the idea of a superhero battle instigated by conflicting tastes in caffeinated beverages. But this throng of customers wasn’t going to serve itself. I kicked into auto pilot. Read names on cups, hand cups to customers, repeat. I was bound to be at this for a while. New York Sci-Fi and Comic Convention was on it’s first day of a three day weekend of all things geeky and awesome. As a die hard geek, I would’ve preferred to be spending the weekend at the con myself. Unfortunately, spending money on collectibles and comics is not a good financial strategy when one is drowning in debt. Four years of higher education got me a degree in English Lit, a gazillion dollars in student loans and a job managing a coffee shop. There were bills to pay, hence I would be working the whole weekend, double shifts. The stench of a thousand geeks sweating through polyester costumes as they chain-drank cups of overpriced coffee would be my only exposure to the fun.

Read names on cups, hand cups to customers, try not to die of soul-crushing monotony…repeat. I raised two fingers to my temple and mimed shooting myself in the head. This was going to be a long day.

First Page: Unpublished Manucript- Women’s fiction

First Page: Unpublished Manucript- Women’s fiction

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

Neha Shah and her parents sat cross legged around a pious fire in their living room.  “Om Namaahh..Shivai” intoned the priest and tossed a few grains of rice into the flames. Neha stifled a yawn. This was the third hour of the puja by her last estimation.

Most people had a family doctor; the Shah’s had a family priest. He had performed this ceremony, intended to appease all nine planets, at the weddings of the previous three generations of their family.

Mrs. Shah had vehemently opposed any suggestions of procuring someone with a cheaper rate. ‘His presence is so lucky for us. See how everyone in our family has had successful marriages. My sister tried to act smart by getting a new fellow for her daughter and see what happened… divorce in a year!’

Now as Neha watched the elderly priest wheeze from the smoke and cover his coughs with a trembling hand, she hoped enough of his luck would rub off on him to not leave in a stretcher.

Despite the strategically placed table fans, Neha’s red tasseled blouse turned progressively maroon as droplets of sweat made their way down her back. Her normally curly hair had been tamed into submission by an hour of straightening. After waging a hard battle with the styling tool, it now lay meekly on top of her head in a loose bun, adorned with a row of tiny white beads.

Meera was not required for this part of the ceremony and was ensconced on a jute sofa across from Neha, her feet tucked underneath a pink saree. Mrs. Shah had been equally generous in passing her genes to her daughters. With dainty frames and fair skin, there was little to distinguish the sisters physically, except for a tiny mole on Meera’s lower lip, as if God Himself had put a black teeka on her as protection from envy. Meera munched on a tiny samosa and smiled guiltily at Neha.

Neha’s stomach gave an audible growl. It was so unfair. As a bride, she was expected to fast the whole day while Varun could eat whatever he pleased. She frowned as her thoughts drifted to her fiancé. She glanced at her mobile. He still hadn’t returned any of her calls since morning. Probably went for a smoke with his cousin from Bangalore, she told herself.

She got a sharp poke from Mrs.Shah. Neha looked up. “Please offer these flowers and ask Lord Ganesha to bless you with marital happiness” the priest repeated. Neha placed the petals at the foot of the idol in the center. ‘Pay attention Neha. You are the not the only one who had to get up early today…’ Mrs. Shah muttered under her breath.

Meanwhile in a flat in one of the more affluent areas of South Bombay, Varun paced the floor of his bedroom. Neha’s cherubic face had been blinking on his cellphone every hour or so, but he had disconnected every time. “Are you ready?” his mother called. “Yes. Maa. Just a minute”

His cellphone vibrated again. His thumb hovered above the end call button, but he hesitated. It was a text -“Its confirmed”.  Heart pounding, he grabbed his suitcase. His silk cream colored Sherwani was laid out carefully on the bed, the tiny ruby stones on the embroidery glinting in the sunlight. Next to it was a Titan watch, his first gift from Neha. Without a backward glance, he slammed the door shut.