I don't often do continuations of fictionettes. If I find myself spending multiple freewriting sessions on the same story idea, it'll probably turn into a full-length story for possible commercial publication. But this one's special.
I said I'd do something special for my very first subscriber. I had no idea what, though, until that first subscriber signed up and said that it was "Please to Confirm Your Appointment with BRIGHT SMILES!"(1) that drew her in. "I wanted it to be longer," she said. So I've made it a little longer, just for her.
The minor character of Anita "no relation" Schlessinger is a wee touch informed by personal experience. Perhaps pet peeve would be a more accurate description. I started getting a similar question about eight or so years ago when actor Shia LaBeouf rose to prominence. My rote answer has fossilized into, "No, and my family spells the name right." Although, upon learning that he, like myself, got the name through a father of Cajun descent, I should probably revise that answer to "Probably, but if so, the connection is too many generations back for me to spot."
On a similar note, no relation should be assumed between the character of Carlie and any real-life front desk receptionists you may know. Not even if they have the same name.
Cover art and photography by Nicole J. LeBoeuf