Genre: Literary/Magical Realism
Word Count: 79,000
When gravity lessens, just a little, some people’s problems get easier. Others’ don’t. A new mom, an overweight teen girl, a retired boat salesman, and interconnected others, it’s LOVE, ACTUALLY with a magical realism twist.
Shelly did not mind 8:00 AM classes. Her professor clearly did. While she retrieved her laptop from her backpack, Dr. Craig wandered into the room without looking where he was going. He bounced off the doorframe and his coffee cup hiccupped a small shower of brown droplets over his hand and onto the podium where he was about to unload his stack of papers. He set the cup down on the table, poured the papers onto the lectern, then waved his hand in the air as if the heat of the liquid had not already dissipated. This was an introductory physics class, after all, and had he been successful in assisting his students in understanding the rudimentary laws of motion and energy, everyone in the room would have realized why the loss of heat into his skin and the air would have delivered only a momentary burn, far shorter than the time it took him to offload the detritus of the upcoming class. Shelly sighed as she tried to lean back in her chair. His reaction was one of drama, not of pain.
Except drama requires an audience, and Dr. Craig would not find one on this chilly March morning. Shelly’s classmates were mostly freshmen, and of the modest percentage of them who had chosen to attend class this morning, none were paying attention to the white-bearded, white-athletic shoed, white-lab-coated professor trying to drum up sympathy from the front of the room. Instead, they were checking their phones, using their laptop cameras to create on-screen mirrors so they could apply their make-up, or lying across their desks, arms jutted out at awkward angles as if the tiered, 1960’s-style college classroom was the scene of some horrifying disease outbreak.