Author: Jack Remick
Copyright: © Jack Remick
Cover Illustration: Susan Canavarro
Publisher: Quartet Seattle
Where to buy: Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle eBook.
In the dark of night, a woman stands on the edge of a windmill tower in Kansas, ready to jump. The woman is married, two kids. The farm is driving her crazy. She can escape by killing herself or she can escape to the city. She needs to say goodbye to the kids. Saying goodbye, she changes her mind. She drops the kids with grandparents, steals her husband’s car, and heads for Wichita.
Lemon Custard is a story about a woman escaping a cage. Her cage is a farm, a husband, kids, chores, dirt, boredom.
Her journey goes from innocence (she’s known only her husband) to experience (sex with three men, including a rapist who’s married to a friend) to rebirth.
Three women guide Olive on her journey from farm girl to city woman:
Janey shows her the dark, sexy, seamy side of night life.
Eileen teaches Olive how to dress.
Rose opens Olive’s dreams to read her hopes for a new start.
Olive is America migrating from the country to the city. Olive is America re-inventing itself. Olive discovers the hard truth—the American dream doesn’t end in happy ever after, it ends in loss, rebuilding, starting over with a new dream.
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She came awake in the heat sweating, short of breath. Lying on her side, she looked at a window smeared with dust and grease—a window as clouded as her brain. She lay there on the bed, waiting, not yet knowing where or when or who or what had happened. As her head cleared, she got flashes of where—a bar. A flutter of when—Saturday night. A flash of who—and there was a dark face, a sunburnt face with no eyes, no ears, no nose—just a mouthful of orange teeth, teeth the color of a Kansas sunset. And behind the face there was a blackness.
She slid off the bed, her feet landing on a gritty, cold, worn out linoleum with its color ground down to asphalt patches where shoes had walked—where were her shoes? And she said, Oh my god.
Her clothes were heaped on a chair beside the bed—the red skirt, the white blouse, pantyhose draped over the blouse like a long dead black worm. High heels spilled on their sides under a chair. She hunched her shoulders.
She didn’t remember undressing, she didn’t remember kicking off the shoes but it must have been in a hurry.
In a mirror, in a bathroom the color of a gray dream, she looked at herself. Her eye shadow was smeared. Her lips were raw and red. On her neck, she saw a red mark—teeth?—and at the top of her left breast, just above the nipple a deep splotchy bruise. She ran water in a rusty sink and smelled the sulfur in the water. She didn’t drink. She splashed water on her face. The water was tepid, slow running, almost thick to her touch. She looked again at her face in the mirror. The silvering was long gone so her reflection was spotty, parts of her missing, her neck half there, her right shoulder gone as if a huge mouth that bitten off a chunk of her flesh. She covered her face with her hands and took a deep breath and then she returned to the chair, to her clothes and as she lifted the blouse, a hundred dollar bill fluttered free, rising then falling like a green breath. She snatched at it, felt a rush of heat rising from her body, burying the shame. Pantyhose, blouse, skirt—where were her panties? Again she muttered, Oh my god. She dressed