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Kelly Luce, Age 17

Kelly Luce is the author of the collection Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, winner of the IndieFab Awards Editor’s Prize in Fiction, and the novel Pull Me Under, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The note at the end of this story was “probably 90% responsible” for her becoming a writer.

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— Kelly Luce, Age 17

Kelly Luce

“On the back of this photo I’ve scrawled ‘Key West. Say, where’s the dry dog food??!?’ I have always delighted in stupid signage. I got that (oversized, men’s) red velvet blazer at the local thrift store, The Helping Hand, and wore it for two years straight. That Key West trip was so fun. My dad let me bring my best friend, who, like me, played the clarinet, but who unlike me had real hippies for parents. She had smuggled a joint on the airplane in her eyeshadow case and one night when my dad went out, we made big plans to smoke it and wander the island, looking cool and pestering Hemingway’s cats. Instead we smoked it in the bathroom and spent the evening folding ourselves into the hotel’s kitchenette cabinets. As for ‘The Countdown,’ I was hopeful that something major would happen when it became the year 2000, something cooler than computers failing to work right. I really looked forward to apocalypse.”