The best part about editing fiction for the September 2003 Melic has been the chance to see so much new writing. If I had to somehow link the five stories included here, I'd say fresh, compelling language connects them all. I invite Melic readers to dive in as I did, and enjoy.

Surprising, strange and funny, "Excessories" tells of a desperate fashion maven and her highly interesting daughter, Ox. The narrator of "Laid off Again" finds that the end of a job tips the scales in the soul's private log. For better or worse, innocence gives way to education in two stories, "The Slide", and "Does it Have a Blowjob?" The first explores lies, truth and the thrill of a dangerous friendship, and the second locates a single word's place in a girl's journey out of childhood. In "Radiation Burn," a family man watches in horror as modern medicine works its wonders on him.

Thank you to each author for sharing new work with Melic. Thanks also to Melic's Editor C.E. Chaffin. To my friend, Melic's witty and gifted fiction editor Valerie Cihylik, thanks so much for inviting me to try my hand.

Read on and see where the stories take you.

Best regards,

—Mary McGrail



Mary McGrail co-edited the literary anthology Too Darn Hot: Writing About Sex Since Kinsey, Persea Books, New York, 1998, which is available through or the publisher ( Her fiction has appeared in Melic Review and The Portland Review, and she is currently writing a novel of connected stories. Mary lives in Manhattan, where she works at the Tea Association of the USA.