Susan Pieters is a founding editor at Pulp Literature Press. Her stories range from high-end literary to the weirdly fantastical, and this story is a lovely alchemy of both. Enjoy this excerpt of ‘Buddha in a Bottle’ as it escapes the pages of Pulp Literature Issue 25, Winter 2020.
Buddha in a Bottle
I wasn’t kidding. “You’re supposed to fit. Shrink or something.”
She pulled up at the corner of her silk pyjama pants. “Laws of physics say you can’t make something smaller than it is. Conservation of matter or something. Unless it’s a black hole.”
“Is it?” I lifted up the glass bottle. It was heavy purple glass, possibly leaded, but surely not heavy enough to be condensed matter.
“What I suggest,” the genie said, stroking a finger along my shoulder, “Is that I come live with you.”
I remembered the day I’d found the bottle on the edge of the sea, partly covered by kelp, shining in the sun. I’d pulled the cork, thinking there would be wine inside, not a woman. How had she come out of there? There had been smoke. I’d been shocked, dropped the bottle. It had all been so sudden.
She moved her finger to touch my earlobe. “And who knows? Sometime in the future, you may relent and take me up on my offer.”
“Three wishes? Never.” I’d read all the stories. I knew better. “You’ve had a week of modern life. Isn’t that enough?”
Susan Pieters, one of the founding forces at Pulp Literature, is now an actual Vancouver resident instead of just a virtually-in-Vancouver-but-really-in-Burnaby-where-it’s-cheaper resident. Yep, now she’s squeezed herself into a smaller square footage, hence the inspiration for this story. She’s still unpacking boxes, but Sue promises that she’ll get her website up by the time you read this, really she will! Try her at susanpieters.com.