issue 40: January - February 2004 

 | author bio

Mary Woronov

George's mother hired twin sisters to babysit him because she thought they looked cute. What she didn't know was that they tortured him unmercifully, and that he fell in love with them. He was only six. Even later when they wouldn't talk to him in grade school, he loved them. And after they went to college, he continued to visit them in his fantasies, fantasies that years later he described in detail to several well-recommended prostitutes and to the sixty-year-old Jewish lady, who was his shrink. So you can imagine his excitement when he ran into the sisters at a fashionable resort, and they invited him on their morning hike.
      Still unmarried and quite beautiful, they walked ahead of him through the silver leaves as he told them how he felt. With trembling fingers he pulled the switches off the trees. With his face pressed into the dirt and the dappled sunlight playing on his naked body, he waited for his dream to begin.
      The beating was average. At first the girls giggled too much, and then they were too heavy-handed, making it too painful. But what was really humiliating was that afterwards they stole his wallet and his shoes. George never saw the sisters again. He thought about them all the time, but that was a lot more pleasant than seeing them in the flesh.

_______________________________ 2

Shoe Store
Mary Woronov

Susan did two things in life: she worked in a law firm and she went to AA meetings. She was not particularly attractive, and her social life was dead. At thirty-nine it was quite apparent that if anybody was going to be nice to her she had to be the one to start, which is why she suddenly decided to buy the shoes she had been staring at for a month in the store next to the bus stop. The store was owned by immigrants, all of whom could barely speak English and none of whom she trusted or understood. The man who insisted on waiting on her must have brought her eleven pairs of shoes before he put the right ones on her feet. This shoe buying was turning into a struggle that she was nevertheless determined to win. When he picked up her foot in both hands and kissed the inside of her arch, she almost hit him; then when there was a mistake in the bill she did in fact yell at him, even though the mistake was in her favor.
      It simply did not cross her mind that he was trying to make a pass at her, not until she was sitting on her bed looking at the shoes in her closet door mirror. She practically did a back flip diving for the cover of her comforter. With her face sandwiched between two pillows she allowed her mind to reconstruct first his face and then his every movement. He looked like a skinny Omar Sharif, and his actions were so charming that Susan became terribly shy and for the next month used the bus stop five blocks away
      Two months later, Susan was so late for work that she went to her regular bus stop hoping not to be recognized by the shoe store employees as the argumentative American with the manners of a porcupine. As soon as she arrived, however, Omar was out the door and onto the crosswalk where he wrestled down a taxi and dragged it to her feet. Susan couldn't move. The other people waiting for the bus began to smile and urge her to get into the cab. Finally the cabby said, 'Lady, unless you're going out of state this guy's given me such a big tip that if you don't get in this cab I'm gonna put you in it myself'
      That morning, instead of being late for work, Susan was early. She was also mortified, and vowed never to stand at that bus stop again. It wasn't that he did anything wrong. All he did was smile and wave and act like someone in love. It was her, she was the problem. This kind of attention made her want to cry She just wasn't used to it.
      The next time she saw him was in the spring. It was raining and she had forgotten her umbrella. She saw him running down the street straight towards her with one in his hand. When he reached her he didn't say anything, just stood behind her holding the umbrella over her head. The bus came and everybody got on. When the bus left he was still standing there and so was she, but the rain did seem to be letting up.

©  Mary Woronov 2004

This electronic version of  "George" and "Shoe Store" appears in The Barcelona Review with kind permission of the publisher. They appear in the author´s collection Blind Love, Serpent's Tail, U.K., 2003. Book ordering available through amazon.comamazon.co.uk

This story may not be archived, reproduced or distributed further without the author's express permission. Please see our conditions of use.

author bio

Mary WoronovMary Woronov is a writer as well as a painter and a film director.  She is the cult star of such films as Eating Raoul, Rock 'n' Roll High School and Death Race 2000, and is the author of two novels - Snake and Niagara - as well as Swimming Underground, her account of her years in the Warhol Factory.   She has recently released a short story collection, Blind Love, from which "George" and "Shoe Store" are taken. Her work is published by Serpent's Tail, U.K.   Woronov lives in Los Angeles.


issue 40: January - February 2004  

Short Fiction

Mary Woronov: George and Shoe Store
Leelila Strogov: Fatso
Simmone Howell: Golden
Connla Stokes: The Splurgy Shore
picks from back issues
Lynn Coady: Jesus Christ, Murdeena
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez: Buried in Shit
and Stars and Losers


Manuel Vázquez Montalbán: 1939 – 2003
The man and his work
Two reviews
: An Olympic Death
and The Buenos Aires Quintet


Ilan Stavans


John Steinbeck
answers to last issue’s 18th-Century English Literature

Readers' Poll

Readers’ Poll Results - Best/Worst of 2003

Book Reviews

Demonized and The Devil in Me by Christopher Fowler
The Epicure’s Lament by Kate Christensen
Blind Love by Mary Woronov
Lizard Dreaming of Birds by John Gist
Dreamland by Newton Thornburg

Regular Features

Book Reviews (all issues)
TBR Archives (authors listed alphabetically)

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