Cover Photo: A photo of a colorful, highly detailed carousel in the quiet moments before riders pile in and set the ride in motion.
Photo courtesy of Alex Kalinin/Unsplash

Unbecoming Behavior at the St. Agnes Fair

He always smelled like fabric softener exhaust from the laundromat down our block: like blue bottles of Downy and Saturday nights, when Mami would blow dry my hair straight with dollops of Dippity-Doo.

An excerpt from the novel, The Girls in Queens, available June 14, 2022 from HarperVia.


The spinning Big Eli grew larger as we approached the St. Agnes fair, hundreds of multi-colored bulbs flashing in preset sequences from every available surface on the wheel. We jumped at balloons bursting atop open-mouthed clown busts getting shot full with water from a line of gun-wielding children aiming across a table. We heard the screams and laughter of kids on the nearly-vertical Tilt-A-Wheel, and beneath that, faintly, the beat of music playing from KTU through strategically located speakers. The air smelled of beef fired on a charcoal grill, and oily paper bags of deep-fried zeppole, coated in clouds of confectioner’s sugar.




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Christine Kandic Torres is a writer born, raised, and based in Queens, New York. Her fiction has appeared in Kweli, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Newtown Literary. Her non-fiction can be found on Fierce by mitú, Ravishly, On She Goes, and in the print anthology States of the Union, for which her piece on Donald Trump’s presidential win and racism in his hometown of Queens won the Editor’s Choice Award. She has received support for her work from Hedgebrook, the Jerome Foundation, and the Queens Council on the Arts. She lives in Jackson Heights where she is seeking representation for her first novel.