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About the Author

Pat York lives outside of Buffalo, New York with her husband Jim.

Her fiction has appeared in TOMORROW and REALMS OF FANTASY, ODYSSEY and the anthologies FULL SPECTRUM 5, NEW ALTARS, THE ROYCROFT REVIEW and SILVER BIRCH BLOOD MOON, an alternate fairy tale anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

Her poem, "A Faerie's Tale" was nominated for the 1997 Rhysling Award and she was on the preliminary Nebula ballots in l996 and l998. She is currently a Nebula finalist in the short story category for "You Wandered Off Like A Foolish Child To Break Your Heart And Mine".

She attended Clarion '93, funded in part by a Donald Wollheim Scholarship granted by the New York Science Fiction Society. She has also received writing and research grants from the National Writer's Project, the National Endowment on the Arts through the Council on Basic Education and from Canisius College. She was a Fulbright Memorial Fund teacher-scholar in 1998.

She is currently shopping her first novel, set in far future Chautauqua County, New York.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Outside In: Review by A.L. Sirois

Wishes

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Mark fished the creature out of the tank with a well-muscled, bare arm, and plopped it into a plastic bag before Elaine had dug her MasterCard out of the bottom of her purse. The card was near its limit, but, for a miracle, took on the one last burden of the golden lobster.

Once in her Sentra, Elaine was numb with the surprise of what she had done. What was she supposed to do with a live lobster? The bag was already dripping a rather large water mark onto the fabric seat cover. The May warmth was probably killing the thing. Best, she decided, to take it home and cook it up for dinner.

Elaine did not like leaving the Inn parking lot so soon after downing three drinks. She lived in fear of the D.W.I. that could only be a mistake or two away. But she had to get this damned thing home.

She drove with more attention and care than she had given to anything in a long time. Three lights, four turns, five miles and she was safely in her own driveway.

Elaine walked up the weed clogged flagstones of her front walk and into her untidy kitchen, carrying the dripping bag in her outstretched fist. The long absent husband had liked things tidy but now Elaine kept house to suit herself and it suited her to have a messy house.

She set the bag gently on the tan plastic counter and stared once more at the small animal. It was no more than a pound or two, she realized, small, even by dinner plate standards. Through the plastic, the lobster flopped a claw up and down and twitched its antennae again. Its little black eyes moved on their eye stalks, trying, she thought, to focus on Elaine as she stared down.

She made a sudden decision.

She picked up the phone and dialed. An electronic voice buzzed a few instructions and she replied, "this is Elaine Bishop, fifth grade, room 252, the Woodchuck Road School. I'll be taking a few personal days. Two. I'll need a sub. I'll check in again on Monday."

She wasn't actually sure that she had any personal days left. There were no lesson plans and her desk was a mess. There might not even be a class list laying around anywhere. Her students were undisciplined and disorganized. The poor sub would have a hell of a few days. Elaine knew she'd be in for a frowning, concerned lecture from the Principal when she got back, and another 'unsatisfactory' on her work performance review. She didn't give a damn.

She rooted through the pockets of her jackets for forgotten change, pulled out the $100 bill hidden behind the toilet tank for emergencies and dug through her jewelry box until she found her old engagement ring. Her paycheck was due tomorrow but she knew she couldn't wait that long. She finally took stock. $140, a gas card, and a MasterCard near enough its limit to make the purchase of a lobster worrisome. It would have to be enough.

She dug through the garage until she found a foam cooler. She poured all the ice in the house into it and then packed newspaper on top of the ice. She gently placed the lobster in his bag of water on top. At the last minute she opened the bag, taping it to the side of the cooler so that it didn't spill. The lobster's eye stalks moved to her, its antennae waving lethargically.

It took her two days to get from Buffalo to the coast of Maine. She tried to drive it all in one, long marathon, but she fell asleep behind the wheel near Burlington and almost drove off the road, so she'd pulled over and slept in the car.

She could smell the ocean before she saw it. The sun was baking the back of the car, but in front of her the sky looked robin's egg blue, blending in almost seamlessly with the water at the horizon line.

There was no one at the beach. She couldn't imagine why this should be so, but she was deeply grateful.

(continued)

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