The Hayseed and the Shave-Tail #SampleSunday

Here’s a bit from “The Woman Who Wasn’t a Shave-Tail,” one of the stories in my science fiction collection, OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS. It’s set in the world of SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, which takes place mostly on Marner, a world with a sentient species of cat-like humanoids. Connie Phelan is a Terran (earthling, for those who don’t know the earth is called Terra). She had an accident with a cosmetic product and now has skin blotched in all human pigments.

The narrator of this story had one tiny scene in SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING. He’s Shahtsi, the uncle of the main Marneri character, Tosun. In the story he’s telling here, a young man has asked him, at random, out of sheer desperation, to help him find his brother. Shahtsi, trying to pass the buck, has asked his nephew to come help.

The Hayseed and the Shave-Tail

excerpt from “The Woman Who Wasn’t a Shave-Tail”
by Marian Allen

Well, I should have known. The minute I looked up and saw that orange bumpkin blocking the sunlight, I should have known this whole thing was going to turn strange. Because my nephew came to the shop–Oh, yes, you can always count on Tosun to answer a call for help–but he had to bring her with him. Connie Phelan. I like Connie–don’t get me wrong, Connie and I are like two kits in a kindle, but you never know what she’ll decide to do.

“Hiya, Shahtsi,” she says to me, with that big black-lipped grin of hers. Yeah, THE Connie Phelan. The Terran holo star. She lives here, on Marner. Yeah, she really looks like that. Accident with a cosmetic product, she said: patches of different colored skin and hair–black, tan, white…. When I first saw her, I thought she was a shave-tail.

–A shave-tail is one of us with the fur trimmed real close. Shave-tails hang around with Terrans and wear clothes. We don’t think much of them, generally speaking.

So Tosun walks in with her behind him. My nephew is a good-looking fella, gray with black stripes, like me. You know how she looks–calico plus. She was wearing a black leather jumpsuit with the legs stopping just above her knees, black leather ruffles around the neck and wrists. She had diamond buckles on the toes of her black patent half-boots, and those gloves with the fingers cut out, also in black leather.

Tosun and I licked noses. Connie wiggled her multi-colored fingers at me.

Raj glanced from me to him to her and curled his lip. “I thought you said he was smart.”

“I heard that.” Connie showed him what his sneer might look like if it ate its vegetables and grew up big and strong. “If this half-grown rube calls me a shave-tail, I’m going to comb the hayseeds out of his hair with his teeth.”



Amazon in print and for Kindle


In multiple formats through Untreed Reads


Amazon in print and for Kindle


In multiple formats through Untreed Reads

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: A helpful person brings an unhelpful person along to help.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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