My Name is Minette, Chapter Eighteen: Another World (Final)

They sang along with the old man, raising their arms to the sky and moving their hips to the music. Their movements were free, liquid, completely unrestrained. The music possessed them.

They were free.

Paw swore, nudging Lumpy to move faster. The horse snorted, bothered, but obeyed, moving at a faster clip. With a tight jaw, Paw spit onto the front steps of the building as they passed. The patrons didn’t blink an eye.

Minette couldn’t look away, either, maintaining eye contact with the old man until the building and its music vanished out of sight.

“Paw, what was that place?” Minette asked.

“Droz’s only sin,” Paw growled with a startling vitriol. “That place is for freaks and thieves. Everyone knows that place is dangerous. Our walls are to keep riff-raff out–they don’t belong in here with us. If they can come in, they can get the bees out.”

“Oh. That’s… terrible,” Minette said, trying very hard to sound disgusted.

“You’re damn right,” Paw snapped. “Just keep working, marry a nice woman, give her a good son, and keep your head down, and you won’t end up like any of them.”

Minette didn’t respond. She turned around, trying to catch another glimpse of the mysterious establishment, but it was gone.


This signals the end of part one of My Name is Minette, and also my final submission as a blogger for Arts, Ink., as I am graduating in May! I have just completed the novel as my honor’s thesis, and hope to query it to agents and eventually get it published.

I would like to thank Joe and all the lovely folks at Arts, Ink. for all their support and for making a dream come true.

You can find my other works at, and my student org at

Thank you,



Theo Poling is a Creative Writing and Arts double major at the University of Michigan. In their free time, Theo enjoys fostering cats, baking, and going on hikes. Theo is transgender, nonbinary, and bisexual, and is passionate about representing LGBTQ people in positive ways in genre fiction. Theo's series, We Exist! is a weekly serial that publishes short story chapters about empowered queer protagonists in science fiction and fantasy settings, where queer people have previously been excluded. Check out the newest installment of We Exist! every Thursday.

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