first ten pages of ‘horny nuns’

I’ve talked a lot about Horny Nuns here, the book I wrote back in 2016 and I think 2017, and since I’m about to submit it for another round of consideration from agents (meaning you’ll be hearing a lot more about it), and since I don’t wanna take Christmas off from the site but also don’t have the time or resources to write a new post, I figured I’d share the book’s first ten pages. Give you an idea of what I’m working with so that when the rejections or middling declarations of interest start pouring in from agents, you’ll have some context for whatever’s attracting or repelling em.

I hope the holiday’s finding you well, and I appreciate your popping in on the site however often you do. My ideal scenario for you right now is that you’re at a holiday party and you’re a little uncomfortable, don’t know who to talk to or what to talk about, and so you’re standing alone someplace, leaning on a doorframe, tryna look extra-engaged with your phone so people leave you alone. If that’s the case, you’re one of my people, I’m glad you’ll have me.

Either that or, I hope, the day’s over and you’ve stepped off a couple paces away from a roomful of good people, just needing a few moments to yourself, and you’re packed fulla good food, you’re wearing a sweater, you’ve got a drink and the lighting is moody and you’re as content as ever. In which case, again, I’m honored you’d share the moment.

However this finds you: thanks for reading. And Merry Christmas.


Horny Nuns

by Alexander Sorondo



And when you tried to assemble bits and pieces of the story, none of it fit together. There was no perspective, no center.


“In the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Guyana After the Jonestown Massacre,” Tim Cahill, Rolling Stone, January 1979

But First

            When the alien did finally arrive it was on a Friday night, when light pollution’s a little worse cuzza the nightclubs and whatever, and so even though the creature wasn’t actually seen until several days later there was a quick moment at around midnight where a handful of people throughout the city, tugging down the hems of their dresses  while waiting in line outside LIV or hosing crud off the driveway or lighting up on some closed beach where the guards patrol on ATVs, turned their heads toward the sky, blue and black and dotted with tiny pinprick traces of the very brightest stars, to see this red-orange arc of a burning Something as it fell not just toward Earth, shit, toward Kendall, and social media blew up for a minute.


            Saturday morning news was all over it.

            “E.T. phone…three-oh-five?”

            Little embarrassing. They interviewed eyewitnesses and business owners and a guy in Weston whose chyron said UFO EXPERT. The reporters talked about the alleged crash with these amused “oh my” kinda tones, the way a grownup listens with patient thrall to a child’s boring story, but they made it clear with their faces that this was bullshit, that they were reporting on it for the sake of levity, a reprieve from what, at the time (this was late 2016), even newsfolk agreed was a little too much politics.


            Few days later an elderly woman on Flagler was carrying a wrapped-up pork shoulder outta the butcher shop just after sunset and claimed that she saw somebody standing in nearby shadows, someone very tall, and so she picked up the pace toward her car and as soon as she sped up, sure enough, the guy gave chase, sprinting. She had just enough time to get in her car and lock the doors. He came at the passenger side and battered it for a while before a couple people shouted at him from the sidewalk, and he fled.

            Lady was hysterical on the news and barely spoke English and the story was made mostly into a joke after the reporters asked her to describe the assailant and she said, straight to the camera, “He lookehlike, eh…he lookalike a man.”

            El Nuevo Herald gave a little more context. Apparently she’d meant to say that he only looked like a man, but that he moved like something else.


            There’s an apartment complex in Doral that was going to be called Heaven’s Gate until a contractor took the owner aside and showed him a news article he’d printed the night before, something about mixed drinks and spaceships and Nike, so now it’s called Heaven’s Key but a lotta people in the neighborhood call it Heaven’s Waiting Room on account of there’s a lot of old folks and people on disability living here. Not very original, but the name sticks. No telling how the elderly and decrepit decided to show up here en masse but that was about ten years ago and, as a result, the place has been outfitted to accommodate the legless, the brittle, the wounded and the troubled and the old. It’s a nice enough place. Lots of the balconies are outfitted with satellite dishes.

            The neighborhood has some trouble with streetlamps, unfortunately, so theft isn’t uncommon for the area at large but, as concerns Heaven’s Key, every entrance is just about impossible to reach except for the front door, and there’s a guard at the desk 24/7, so theft within the building itself isn’t a problem. Flustered vandals who can’t find a way inside have been known to tag and smash up cars in the parking lot. Used condoms and human turds and beer bottles and burger papers are picked up on the regular.

            Place is like a Bunker of Calm. The residents trust each other, more or less, and the drama you find among them is seldom more serious or interesting than the trivial stuff a shut-in will contrive to stay awake.

            Kid named Sean had to move in here and stay with his grandma for a while at around this time where #KendallAlien is plateauing in the news. Mop-haired boy of eleven, barely speaks, his dad’s in jail and his mom’s working doubles at Sergio’s four to six times a week, all the overtime she can get for the rest of the month, now that the mold in Sean’s bedroom has taken up arms against the kid’s allergies. She’s gotta get some money together before she can fix it.

Sean is super awkward now as puberty takes off and his cheeks are speckled with little redspots and hairs, his voice crackles. Old folks and limping middle-agers all pinch his cheek and playpunch his shoulder and ask if he isn’t just bored right out of his mind.

            There’s a resident in the building named Pavel, early-seventies, who’s an avid cinephile with a well-curated VHS and DVD collection to which Sean is granted full access. Here, Sean discovers and gravitates toward a certain kind of movie. The Thing (1982), Fright Night (1985), The Goonies (same), The Lost Boys (1987), Predator (same), It (1990) – stories of isolated locales where something goes creeping in the night. Where some Losers Club or loner has to deal with or defeat it.

            It’s around this time, too, that the whole building starts having issues with satellite connection. TV shows pixelate and split and the screen will go dark for eight or nine seconds at a time. Sometimes there’s a piercing whine.

Tenants start borrowing DVDs from Pavel, the cinephile. They linger in and around his apartment for minutes at a time to laugh about their dependency on television and internet. Pavel’s got a clipboard where he writes down who’s taken what. He’s serious about due dates.

            When DVDs are in short supply Sean borrows books, dark fare, Silence of the Lambs and the like. Carrie. He doesn’t understand every word. The days get a little longer without internet. Sean doesn’t complain. He’s got bad dreams lately about a tall tongueless man begging for help and he starts waking up before dawn on account of them. It’s in one of these sunless early hours that he crawls outta bed, shaken up, goes over and sits by the window and looks down from the third story vantage to find a humanoid thing, tall as fuck, with its legs hooked koala-like around a gutterpipe on the side of the building,  reaching out with a long branch-like arm to putz, carefully, with a satellite dish on one of the second-floor balconies.

Kid feels his stomach drop and then gets a flashback to Danny Glover on that building ledge in Predator 2 (1990).

            Sean ducks away from the window fast, afraid of being seen, but then guesses that this quick movement is exactly the sorta thing that may’ve caught the monster’s eye, fuck, or maybe it’s just a dude, murderous vandal, not a monster at all except still formidable cuz he can probably just count the windows up to here and then break in, kill the witness.

            But the boy is not murdered, and when he looks out the window again a few minutes later he sees no monster.

            That night, around 3 a.m., most everybody in the building is asleep but a handful are awake, watching reruns, when suddenly the picture on everybody’s screen goes white, a deep portal-like whiteness they’ve never seen on a TV before, and pulses of garbled noise, whines and clicks, persist for nine seconds before normal programming resumes. Elderly and handicapped viewers are all jarred. They touch their chests and laugh it off or else remain scowling for a bit. Everybody forgets about it by morning. Even the Lebanese polyglot on the sixth floor, who turns to her husband after the interruption, eyebrow cocked, and says, “Was that a language?”


            Michael grew up here in Miami and just earned his degree in journalism, emphasis in photography, and one of the things that most surprised him about the local news, once he started settling into the idea of staying in town, is that the whole “if it bleeds, it leads” adage that we always joke about isn’t actually so accurate as we think (or at least not in Miami, where people seem to always be bleeding). He’d been told, in fact, that you can always tell a slow news day by the number of shootings you see covered at 6 p.m. – murders or suicides or simple pub violence – because shootings are a dime a dozen, for one thing, but also – and perhaps more importantly – viewers get upset when you report too many shootings (much as they’d also probably secretly like to see photos of the scene) and when viewers get upset, God bless em, they watch something else. And so normally, he’s told, the media’s looking to cover just about anything that isn’t a local shooting. Someone pulled his dick out at Starbucks or a school teacher fucked her student, whatever, make it sexy or gross or tragic or scary but just…go easy on the shootings. Or at least local shootings. If a celebrity gets shot in L.A. – gold, yes, run it. If your neighbor gets shot by her mailbox, well. Let’s not dwell.

            So anyway. Michael graduates from college with a degree in journalism, he’s ready to do his part, but, alas, there are no jobs. He applies first to just his top choices, confident in his abilities and watching with a grin as the world assumes an oyster-like shape before him, but he hears back from only two of them. They say no. But he laughs it off. What was I thinking? Really? Gonna go straight outta college to the New Yorker? Jaja. OK. Lower your sights a little.

So he applies to other places. Ten. Two of em local. He gets a couple interviews this time! Not bad, not bad. But everybody hems and haws about his experience when he gets there, just three years on a college rag, and they say, “Well, y’know, the profession is chaynging,” buncha shit, predictable, and eventually they offer him an unpaid internship and Michael goes “home” to “think about it”. While he’s there on a corner stool, a whole pitcher to himself, he meets some blue collar guys who also come here at this midday hour, and sit by themselves, and they say to him, “You always have your face like that?” They say it with something like paternal concern but also this palpable subtext like, You think you got problems, kid? Michael spills his guts, and they commiserate. They tell him about compromise. “It’s like anything else,” one drunk after another telling him the same thing, “you gotta start from the bottom. Just don’t let yourself stay there, cuz it can get pretty cozy.”

            His mom is different.

            “It’s racism!”

            Everything’s racism. She isn’t even black. She’s Cuban, and white as hell, but she had a hard time of it growing up between the Carolinas with a name like Mileidys and so Mike never argues with her, never says that it’s just hard to find a job right now. He leaves that to his dad, who’s actually black, and who tells her, in a tired drawl, “It’s not raycism…”

            Maybe it is.


            Michael gets $500 from his grandparents as a belated graduation gift and he puts it toward a new camera. Two prospective employers say to him at an interview, “So what’s your platform like?”, meaning how big a presence does he have on social media. He sees on every application that there’s a box asking for his website.

Since this is apparently so important, and since he can’t seem to get a job anyway, he says fuck it, and starts a website. He gets a domain with his last name in it, Figg, but then says, Well what is this about? Typical. You get all these ideas for a website, it’s gonna be yuge, then you finally buy the domain and it’s like, Ummm…

            So he’s asking himself for days: What’s it about? What’s my focus? What’s my angle?

            No idea.


            A high school friend named Patrick sees on Facebook that he’s back in town and sends a message saying, “Hey, wanna go bowling?”, which Michael does not, doesn’t even wanna reconnect with this guy, nor anybody from the old group, but he goes out anyway because he’s concerned now about this “platform” thing. The consensus among social media gurus is that, so long as you’ve got your phone with you, everything that you do – every person you speak with and every photo you take and status you write – becomes a networking opportunity. A chance to win followers. So he showers and puts on a nice shirt and goes heavy on the cologne. Takes his fancy new camera along too, why not.

            It’s almost some kind of cosmic magic that finds Michael sitting at the bowling alley among five old friends that night, the camera at his side, when a guy named Philip Rebson, a self-deluding cuckold and ceaseless inebriate, hops off the stool where he’s been drinking for two hours and then, with his chin high and balance imperfect, crosses the bowling alley, bumping shoulders with passersby, and takes his leave through the west-facing exit to the parking lot, to his car, where he fetches a gun outta the glove box and returns to the bowling alley with the pistol flat against his abdomen, crossing the establishment’s carpeted length with, again, that straight-backed caricature of a dignified walk. Drunk as fuck. Nobody looks at him. Sinatra singing “Summer Wind” overhead. He returns to the hightop where he’d been sitting and grabs the stool for balance and thinks about something for a moment, steadies himself, and then walks a few paces toward the soda machine. There, with good posture, he takes one deep breath so that his chest is broad and valorous, his chin high and certain, and he calls out to Amy, his wife, who’s working the concession stand tonight. So Amy looks over and then Phil – who’s always been kinda dramatic – locks eyes with her for a good two seconds and then, just as she starts with an impatient gesture, brings the gun up and shoots himself in the neck, hoping he’ll douse the onlookers in arterial spray (doesn’t happen).

            When the shot was fired people recalled that his face scrunched up in a grimace and his eyes shut tight and his mouth fell rigid as though he’d caught some flaky bitter food in his throat. He stood there cringing for a couple seconds and then took a step forward and crumpled and died. Blood didn’t spray in the ropy jets he’d envisioned. In fact you couldn’t even see it going. One second everything was dry and then suddenly the tables and chairs and people around him were dotted with fine little specks of red.

            A gunshot in a bowling alley is a loud thing indeed but so too is the music, the boom and whir of balls rolling down alleys, the clatter of pins, the six dozen conversations being shouted across tables. Shrieking children. The pop and clack of billiards.

A few people familiar with the sound of gunfire were given pause, here and there, by that foreign pop amid the music and the gaming, the sounds of fun. Business carried on.

Eventually people started screaming over at the concession stand, and the screaming didn’t stop, and curiosity settled something of a pall over the place.

            People mostly stood still and looked at one another. Nobody wanted to embarrass themselves by being first to panic. Stillness. You could see in everybody’s eyes they were thinking of that high school in Colorado and the theater in Aurora and the nightclub in Orlando and the elementary school in Newtown and the office party in San Bernardino and the concert hall in Paris and the finish line in Boston and the Church in North Carolina. So on.

            Michael heard the shouting and was among the few who’d figured immediately that the pop was a gunshot. He still kinda savors that sexy college notion of like the Fearless War Reporter, running toward chaos with her camera. Valorous. And so, drunk, he snatches his spiffy new Nikon and sets off toward the concession stand. His friend Patrick reaching out a hand and calling after him, “Hey yo not – no – hey Mike!” Scared but not wanting to sound scared and so trying to seem flustered instead.

            The screaming scattered outward like a shattered wave and some were reeling back from the concession stand while others closed in toward it. Michael held his camera over his head as he moved through the crowd. Philip Rebson lay on his side with both arms behind his back, mouth a gaping triangle, eyes scrunched shut with an expression looking like maybe you still feel pain when you’re dead. The pool of blood was about four feet in diameter and then seemed to stop, thicken, and Michael registered the pool not as blood at first but more as like the dark illegal waters of some island you’re not supposed to see.

            He crouched and aimed the camera and started shooting.

            That night, he posted the pictures to his website.

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