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Novels by Mary Marcus


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The Coyote Next Door

The word on the street is the coyote that has been stalking our neighborhood since the end of the summer is living in the abandoned house across the way. The neighborhood eyesore, the one with the huge yard filled with falling down fences, trailers and such. I can see it from my second story living room window. To be honest, I’m not opposed to the place. It’s the single hold out against the hand of the developer. When we moved here about ten years ago, it was a quiet Japanese neighborhood where you could walk to eat sushi or noodles on Sawtelle, a four block area with no chain stores, not a single one.  You can still walk to eat sushi or noodles, but many of the old places are gone and now there are outposts of upscale chain restaurants and two burger joints. Young tattooed hipsters from all over town now fill the sidewalks. I have nothing catty to say about hipsters, or restaurants. But, I’m growing  weary, weary of three story condos with football fields of plate glass. I miss the old ladies who graduated from Manzanar High School, who have died and whose children have sold the land for development.  In their place are the arrivistes who drive Porsches and live in condos that take up every square foot of land. Parking is becoming a problem. Lot more rich white folks than there used to be. Amidst all of this growing boom, now the urban coyote. Is it a he or a she? My neighbor and friend Kady swears it’s a she. And I’ll go with...

Once Upon A Christmas In Shreveport

It was my friend Chuck S’s idea: to sneak out of the house after dinner when our parents were sitting around the table smoking and drinking and be a human nativity scene. It was Christmas time. Mangers were everywhere. This manger was in front of the suburban branch of S Brothers just around the corner from where the S’s themselves lived on Azalea Lane. His father’s store was the preeminent department store in Shreveport, and was the very first to establish a suburban branch. Was this idea of his, as Roth so aptly put it, something to do with putting “the id back in yid?” Because it was a very daring transgressive idea, we all knew it was not the thing to do to mess with the Christians’ iconography. We were Jews and while Jews were technically white, we could go to the schools, we knew we weren’t really white like our neighbors and friends who attended the Baptist church, the Methodist Church the Episcopal Church, and in short we knew to behave ourselves. Chuck who always carried around a whoopee cushion, had a wicked sense of humor. And was a perpetual prankster. He was the one who left messages at his cousin’s house in the name of Herman S, whom everyone knew, was the illegitimate black son of his uncle and who got a discount at the department store, and who Chuck swore, turned up monthly for his remittance check. Chuck knew the dirt on everyone, or maybe he just invented it. This is what I believe happened that night in ancient times. The four of us, plus...

Mr. Iyengar’s Fire Drill

Royce auditorium at UCLA was packed to overflowing. It was the night the most famous yogi in the world, teacher of the violinist Jasha Heifetz, author of Light on Yoga, and the most influential book ever written on yoga, came to Los Angeles. The year was 2005. People weren’t afraid of crowds then. Oklahoma had happened. 9-11 had happened.  But homegrown acts of violence were few and far between. There were no armed guards, no metal detectors, and no hint of fear in anyone’s face. I was sitting way in back and way up high with my friend Sarah and her friend Michael.  All the famous yogis in town were there. There are a lot of famous yogis in Los Angeles. All the less famous yogis were there too. Even more of them.  On stage were the movie star yogis, one or two dressed ceremonially bowing hands together in Namaste. A lot of speakers came on and said laudatory things. We had been there about half an hour when a voice came over the loud speaker. We were told to evacuate the auditorium. And we hadn’t even gotten to see the great man himself. I have thought about the fire drill often, and especially these days, when people are so jumpy. When the world is so scary. A very dear friend of mine was caught last spring in a stampede in Penn Station when somebody thought a gun had gone off. She abandoned her suitcase and ran. It still freaks her out when she thinks of it. That night, nobody ran.  Nobody looked worried, nobody seemed to be in...