Veritas vincit  
Penniless Press... the inexhaustible voice

Kate McQuestion

Kate is twenty-three and has lived in Niagara Falls her entire life. She credits negative ions for her inspiration to write, which she has been doing since the age of seven. This is Kate's first published short story.


Yesterday a lady came in with a bridal gown and a beard. The gown, a
practical masterpiece of lace and tulle, was balled up under one arm. The
beard was not like a man’s beard but covered her cheeks and chin like
infant’s hair, fine and brown. She was young and very skinny and not
entirely without charms. Below her black, carefully arched eyebrows her eyes
shone like oil soaked rubber.

Despite all this, I had forgotten about her by the end of the day and I only
thought of her again the next day because another lady came in to the store
looking for disposable razors.

This woman had very fat vericose legs that ballooned out from the bottom of
her shorts, but her face was very pretty. She said her son forgot his razor
at home, but she didn’t look old enough to have a son that needed to shave
and I wondered if she was lying. I told her that we didn’t carry razors,
only sweets, and I asked her if she checked to see if their hotel had

She didn’t answer. A shelf of liquor candies had caught her eye. She had a
bag of them in each hand was apparently trying to discern if each had
exactly twenty pieces as promised.

I took out a stack of napkins and started folding them. I do this when I’m
bored, and also when I want to watch the customers without seeming like I’m

The lady put back one of the bags and spread the other flat against her
palm. Her lips moved as she poked at each candy through the plastic, “One,
two, three, four.”

I watched her, convinced she must have something to do with the bearded lady
from the previous day. I wondered if the two of them were lovers. I wondered
if they came here to get married and I imagined the bearded lady laying in a
plush hotel bed somewhere, a mere disposable razor away from bridal beauty.

My thoughts were interrupted by the entrance of a family – Mom, Dad, Boy,
Girl. The boy, who looked to be about four, was hollering, “I want to see
the waterfalls, I want to see Niagara Falls!”

His sister, who looked to be about twice his age, said neatly, “We’re in
Niagara Falls. That’s what the city is named. The waterfalls have their own

The boy pouted and dropped to the floor on his butt. He looked up at the
lady who was still counting the liquor candies and said, “Your legs look
like grapes in Jell-o, lady.”

A young, noticeably scruff man had come into the store in time to hear the
boy and he called him a brat. Then he took the bag of liquor candies from
the lady and put them back on the shelf. “C’mon, Ma,” he said, “they got
razors next door,” and the two of them left the store.

The family of four followed a minute later, leaving me alone with my
napkins. While I folded, I stared out the window. Across the street, a lady
with a bridal gown tucked under her arm ran by and I wondered.


















©2006 Penniless Press