Nancy Scott Hanway

Writer. Amateur car thief.

After I came home with my prizes—ceramic vase in the dollar store, sparkly hairband from the pharmacy—I promised myself I would never ever do it again, that I was absolutely done with stealing. But the next time I walked into a store, items called out to me, begging me to choose them. I thought of them like abandoned cats in a shelter waiting for an owner. One of them mews at you in a certain way, purrs at just the right moment, or rubs its head against your hand, and you know you’ve got to take it home."
- From The Criminal Gene

"The final argument—the deal killer, Natalie said—was about teeth, which she whitened so much that he told her he thought they could glow in the dark. He hated the Barbie-doll, Kardashian-ness of it. “You’re the only person I know who could use the Kardashians as a descriptor,” she said. She wondered out loud why he thought he had the right to tell her what to do with her body. "My body,” as if all of these dead parts of her were sacred, as if he were violating her with his opinion."
- From "Arguments About Dead Things"

Lydia has a fascination with typeface, and she is pained whenever she meets someone who doesn’t appreciate the importance of fonts, of Garamond and Cloister, Perpetua and Bulmer, the names themselves striking her listeners mute. At night, she apprentices with a printer, and at parties Kim finds her, back to the wall, beer in hand, lecturing one of her blond boys about leads, slugs, quads, and spaces. If the boy looks bored or doesn’t seem sufficiently enamored of typeface, she sends him home. I don’t sleep with idiots, she says.
- From "The Importance of Dead Girls"

Rory was a drummer that Kev worked with on a couple of movie soundtracks: an anxious, elfin man with a deformed spine, who spent half his life in a wheelchair. Kev adored him like a little brother. About a month after Kev left, he’d called her in a panic to say that they had to get Rory to the hospital, now. When she arrived at his apartment, Rory was slumped over on the couch, his hand on the remote, as if he were going to press a button to watch his soaps. She touched his neck: greasy and cold, like raw clay. “He’s dead, Kev,” she said and flinched, expecting him to hit her. But he just stared. “Are you sure?

“Yes, and you’ve got to get out of here.” He hadn’t argued. She would clean up after him, one last time. When they lifted Rory (to retrieve Kev’s wallet from the couch), that tiny man was incredibly heavy, as if his spirit had fled and let his veins fill with rock.
— "Naked Swimmer"

"Harriet has dined out on three stories in her life. One is when she was young and got dumped by her college boyfriend in Paris, two days after she arrived to live with him, because he was having an affair with the lead singer of a once-famous French punk band. The singer was thirty-six and glamorous and—having long ago abandoned her rebel ethos—rode to the studio in her manager’s limousine. She wore mink coats, had hennaed hair, and took Harriet’s ex-boyfriend to a Club Med in Tunisia on vacation (entirely not his style). One day, Harriet witnessed their breakup in a café near his house, where Harriet was drinking absinthe, in a self-conscious way, with a Polish poet. At the time, it was painful, and she never comforted herself with, “Some day, this will make a great story over cocktails in Hollywood,” because she was more immersed in finding a place to live and explaining to her befuddled parents (dutifully wiring her money from the Western Union in Chappaqua) how this had happened." -- from "Three Stories at Dinner"

The next day, in the Louvre, we see a huge painting of Napoleon being crowned, and Griff asks if he was a good man or a bad one.

“He wanted the whole world for himself. So I guess you could say he was a very selfish man.”

“Just like that other king!” Griffin pauses. “Did they chop off his head?”

“No, darling. They poisoned him.”

He nods happily. “I love you, Mama.” And I can tell that the balance of power has shifted. All is right with the world. I give a huge sigh of relief.

-- from "Real Mickey"