The Luggage Rack

Part I

Laura DeHart Young

Susan was already uncomfortable. She had crammed her overnight bag underneath the seat in front of her and her winter coat, gloves and briefcase had been stashed on the luggage rack just above her head. Hoping no one would sit next to her on the almost full bus, the box of books she needed to read for the literary review sat on the seat next to her. The bus was terribly stuffy so she unbuttoned the top two buttons of her denim shirt.

“Mind if I sit here?”

The words she had been dreading drilled right into Susan’s skull. Reluctantly, she got up without even looking at the woman and heaved the box of books onto the luggage rack. She had to shove someone else’s overcoat further down the rack. “You got something you want to put up here?” she

asked, half growling the words. “Not much room left.”

“I see that. Don’t believe in traveling light, do you?”

“Listen, I…” Susan began, jerking her shoulders around with the goal of giving the woman a piece of her already frazzled mind. But when she saw those deep green eyes, the baby soft face framed by raven curls, the irritated words got stuck in her throat. “Listen, I can make some room for

whatever you have. No problem.”


Part II

Therese Szymanski

“How about this?” the woman said, holding up a small satchel.

Susan smashed her box over a bit more, but the overcoat wasn’t being scrunched up any further, and it chose that moment to rebel, forcing the box unexpectedly back at her, so that it flew out of her grasp and landed with a heavy thump, breaking its sides and spewing books across the floor of the bus.

“A little light reading?” the woman asked, reaching down to pick up a book. Of course, Susan’s luck was running true to form. The first book the woman grabbed was Pucker-Up: A Hands-On Guide to Ecstatic Sex. She glanced up at Susan, then flipped through the book and reached for another. This time it was a book adorned with a half-naked man. Wouldn’t you know, this one was a collection of gay male sleaze. “Quite an interesting book you have here.”

Susan quickly bent down to start pulling the books together. Why couldn’t this woman have picked up some of Susan’s more literary reading? Why did she have to grab the ickiest stuff?

“I’m a book critic,” Susan quickly mumbled.

“I want to read whatever magazine it is you write for.”


Part III

Peggy J. Herring

“A girl’s gotta make a living,” Susan said tiredly.

“I’m the last person you would have to defend your chosen profession to,” the woman said. They both sat down in their seats with Susan getting the one by the window. “My father raised a family of five by working in a tampon factory,” she said. “I watched him struggle with that for years.” With an engaging smile she added, “I’ve never had to buy a feminine hygiene product during my entire life, however, so it wasn’t all bad.”

Susan chuckled. “Okay, so their might be worse jobs out there. I just have a difficult time explaining to my mother what kind of literature I’m reviewing. She likes seeing my name in print.”

Pointing to the rack over their heads, the woman said, “Might I suggest that you get a better box for the future?”

“Already on my list of things to do.”

“So what magazine do you write for? I really do want to check it out. I’d need to know your name, though so I wouldn’t have to read everything in order to find you.”

Susan looked at her with a twinge of indignation. “What’s next? Inviting me over to see your tampon collection?”

“Have we met already!?”

That made Susan laugh. She so enjoyed women who had a sense of humor. She watched her take out a small tablet and write something down on it. The woman tore off the piece of paper and give it to her.

“Here’s my name and phone number,” she said. “I left my business cards in my backpack.”

Susan reluctantly took the piece of paper.

“Oh, and if a man answers, don’t be alarmed. He’s my roommate. A sweet guy with a new boyfriend every week.”

Just to be polite, Susan folded the slip of paper and put it in her shirt pocket. There was no way she was going to call this person!

“Now your turn,” the woman said as she handed over the small tablet and a pen.

Susan took the piece of paper from her pocket, read the name the woman had written and then returned the slip of paper to her pocket again.

“I don’t think so, Tilly.”


“Is this how you usually pick up woman?” Susan asked. She handed the pen and tablet back to her.

“I noticed that you didn’t tear up the note,” Tilly said smugly, “and I really do have business cards in my backpack. So tell me what magazine you write for.”

This is going to be a long trip, Susan thought. A very, very long trip.

Intro Something Borrowed The Shopping Trip
Give the Girl A Hand The Wettest Spot in the World The Nutcracker Suite
Footsies With Tootsie Flirting 101 The Luggage Rack
The Intruder The Butch In Question Driving Ms. Binkie
That Rainbow Feeling The Long Ride Home In the Heat of the Day
8 Mile The Gang’s All Here Break a Leg!
It’s All In the Name Beware of Beeping Lesbians A Moving Experience