Phoebe and Flannery French

Tallahassee, Florida

The French girls, on the surface, appear carefree, perhaps even typical: young, blond, charming… concerned with the welfare of imaginary animals. So it’s all the more shocking to discover that this casual demeanor is all camouflage. These girls—eight-year-old Flannery and her younger sister Phoebe (age five)—are being stalked by the nefarious Barbara Doc Iveress (rhymes with “iris”). A master of disguises, Barbara Doc Iveress (aka BDI) is both a barber and a doctor, though you wouldn’t want to fall victim to her services. Not ever having spotted her, it’s easy to imagine she’s a relative of Cruella Deville.

“She’s like a trickster figure,” their father explains. “Phoebe thought her up.”

“If you want to be bald,” Phoebe says, “she just cuts off a few strings of your hair.” Phoebe’s hair is long and very straight with bangs that suggest a sophistication uncommon in five-year-olds.

“And if you don’t want to be bald,” Flannery adds, “she makes you bald.” Flannery has recently let her hair grow out into a 1930s style bob.

“She recommends all the wrong medicines,” Phoebe continues, with a bit of respectful glee. Or perhaps it is delight in having conjured up this evil.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Ken Foster

Ken Foster is the author of a collection of stories, The Kind I’m Likely to Get, and the editor of two anthologies, Dog Culture: Writers on the Character of Canines and The KGB Bar Reader. He is currently a visiting instructor at Florida State University.

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