Fun

An Excerpt from Kiley Reid's "Such a Fun Age"


In Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Enjoyable Age, uncomfortable subjects are unpacked.

The ebook finds 25-year-old Emira Tucker babysitting for a white influencer who solely turns into intrigued by her after an incident takes place. The ebook is attention-grabbing take a look at how Millenials navigate pre-existing ideas of race, classicism, micro-aggressions, and transactional relationships.

Learn an excerpt from the ebook, the drops Dec 31, beneath!


That evening, when Mrs. Chamberlain referred to as, Emira may solely piece collectively the phrases “. . . take Briar somewhere . . .” and “. . . pay you double.”

In a crowded condo and throughout from somebody screaming “That’s my song!,” Emira stood subsequent to her girlfriends Zara, Josefa, and Shaunie. It was a Saturday evening in September, and there was a bit of over an hour left of Shaunie’s twenty- sixth birthday. Emira turned the quantity up on her cellphone and requested Mrs. Chamberlain to say it once more.

“Is there any way you can take Briar to the grocery store for a bit?” Mrs. Chamberlain stated. “I’m so sorry to call. I know it’s late.”

It was virtually astonishing that Emira’s each day babysitting job (a spot of dear onesies, colourful stacking toys, child wipes, and sectioned dinner plates) may interrupt her present nighttime state (loud music, bodycon clothes, lip liner, and purple Solo cups). However right here was Mrs. Chamberlain, at 10:51 p.m., ready for Emira to say sure. Beneath the veil of two robust combined drinks, the intersection of those areas virtually appeared humorous, however what wasn’t humorous was Emira’s present financial institution steadiness: a complete of seventy-nine {dollars} and sixteen cents. After an evening of twenty-dollar entrées, birthday photographs, and collective presents for the birthday lady, Emira Tucker may actually use the money.

“Hang on,” she stated. She set her drink down on a low espresso desk and caught her center finger into her different ear. “You want me to take Briar right now?”

On the opposite facet of the desk, Shaunie positioned her head on Josefa’s shoulder and slurred, “Does this mean I’m old now? Is twenty-six old?” Josefa pushed her off and stated, “Shaunie, don’t start.” Subsequent to Emira, Zara untwisted her bra strap. She made a disgusted face in Emira’s course and mouthed, Eww, is that your boss?

“Peter accidentally—we had an incident with a broken window and . . . I just need to get Briar out of the house.” Mrs. Chamberlain’s voice was calm and surprisingly articulate as if she had been delivering a child and saying, Okay, mother, it’s time to push. “I’m so sorry to call you this late,” she stated. “I just don’t want her to see the police.”

“Oh wow. Okay, but, Mrs. Chamberlain?” Emira sat down on the fringe of a sofa. Two women began dancing on the opposite facet of the armrest. The entrance door of Shaunie’s condo opened to Emira’s left, and 4 guys got here in yelling,
“Ayyeee!”

“Jesus,” Zara stated. “All these niggas tryna stunt.”

“I don’t exactly look like a babysitter right now,” Emira warned. “I’m at a friend’s birthday.”
“Oh God. I’m so sorry. You should stay—”

“No no, it’s not like that,” Emira stated louder. “I can leave. I’m just letting you know that I’m in heels and I’ve like . . . had a drink or two. Is that okay?”

Child Catherine, the youngest Chamberlain at 5 months previous, wailed within the receiver. Mrs. Chamberlain stated, “Peter, can you please take her?” after which, up shut, “Emira, I don’t care what you look like. I’ll pay for your cab here and your cab home.”

Emira slipped her cellphone into the pouch of her crossbody bag, ensuring all of her different belongings had been current. When she stood and relayed the information of her early departure to her girlfriends, Josefa stated, “You’re leaving to babysit? Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Guys . . . listen. No one needs to babysit me,” Shaunie knowledgeable the group. One in every of her eyes was open and the opposite was making an attempt very onerous to match.

Josefa wasn’t via asking questions. “What kind of mom asks you to babysit this late?”

Emira didn’t really feel like entering into specifics. “I need the cash,” she stated. She knew it was extremely unlikely, however she added, “I’ll come back if I get done, though.”

Zara nudged her and stated, “Imma roll witchyou.”

Emira thought, Oh, thank God. Out loud, she stated, “Okay, cool.”


Market Depot offered bone broths, truffle butters, smoothies from a station that was presently darkish, and several other sorts of nuts in bulk. The shop was brilliant and empty, and the one open checkout lane was the one for ten gadgets or fewer. Subsequent to a dried-fruit part, Zara bent in her heels and held her costume all the way down to retrieve a field of yogurt-covered raisins. “Umm . . . eight {dollars}?” She shortly positioned them again on the shelf and stood up. “Gotdamn. This is a rich people grocery store.”

Effectively, Emira mouthed with the toddler in her arms, it is a rich-people child.

“I want dis.” Briar reached out with each arms for the copper-colored hoops that hung in Zara’s ears.

Emira inched nearer. “How do you ask?”

“Peas I want dis now Mira peas.”

Zara’s mouth dropped open. “Why is her voice always so raspy and cute?”

“Move your braids,” Emira stated. “I don’t want her to yank them.”

Zara tossed her lengthy braids — a dozen of them had been a whitish blond — over one shoulder and held her earring out to Briar. “Next weekend Imma get twists from that girl my cousin knows. Hi, Miss Briar, you can touch.” Zara’s cellphone buzzed. She pulled it out of her bag and began typing, leaning into Briar’s little tugs.

Emira requested, “Are they all still there?”

“Ha!” Zara tipped her head again. “Shaunie just threw up in a plant and Josefa is pissed. How long do you have to stay?”

“I don’t know.” Emira set Briar again on the bottom. “But homegirl can look at the nuts for hours so it’s whatever.”

“Mira’s makin’ money, Mira’s makin money . . .” Zara danced her manner into the frozen-food aisle. Emira and Briar walked behind her as she put her arms on her knees and bounced within the faint reflection within the freezer doorways, pastel ice cream logos mirrored on her thighs. Her cellphone buzzed once more. “Ohmygod, I gave my number to that guy at Shaunie’s?” she stated, her display. “He is so thirsty for me, it’s stupid.”

“You dancing.” Briar pointed up at Zara. She put two fingers into her mouth and stated, “You . . . you dancing and no music.”

“You want music?” Zara’s thumb started to scroll. “I’ll play something but you gotta dance too.”

“No explicit content, please,” Emira stated. “I’ll get fired if she repeats it.”

Zara waved three fingers in Emira’s course. “I got this I got this.”

Seconds later, Zara’s cellphone exploded with sound. She flinched, stated, “Whoops,” and turned the quantity down. Synth stuffed the aisle, and as Whitney Houston started to sing, Zara started to twist her hips. Briar began to hop, holding her mushy white elbows in her arms, and Emira leaned again on a freezer door, containers of frozen breakfast sausages and waffles shining in waxy cardboard behind her.


Emira joined them as Zara sang the refrain, that she wished to really feel the warmth with any person. She spun Briar round and crisscrossed her chest as one other physique started to come back down the aisle. Emira felt relieved to see a middle-aged girl with quick grey hair in sporty leggings and a T-shirt studying St. Paul’s Pumpkinfest 5K. She regarded like she had undoubtedly danced with a toddler or two sooner or later in her life, so Emira stored going. The girl put a pint of ice cream into her basket and grinned on the dancing trio. Briar screamed, “You dance like Mama!”

Because the final key change of the tune began to play, a cart got here into the aisle pushed by somebody a lot taller. His shirt learn Penn State and his eyes had been sleepy and cute, however Emira was too far into the choreography to cease with out seeming utterly affected. She did the Dougie as she caught bananas in his shifting cart. She dusted off her shoulders as he reached for a frozen vegetable medley. When Zara informed Briar to take a bow, the person silently clapped 4 instances of their course earlier than he left the aisle. Emira centered her skirt again onto her hips.

“Dang, you got me sweatin’.” Zara leaned down. “Gimme high five. Yes, girl. That’s it for me.”

Emira stated, “You out?”

Zara was again on her cellphone, typing manically. “Someone just might get it tonight.”

Emira positioned her lengthy black hair over one shoulder. “Lady, you do you however that boy is actual white.”

Zara shoved her. “It’s 2015, Emira! Sure we can!”

“Uh-huh.”

“Thanks for the cab ride, though. Bye, sister.”

Zara tickled the highest of Briar’s head earlier than turning to go away. As her heels ticked towards the entrance of the shop, Market Depot all of a sudden appeared very white and really nonetheless.


“Excuse me, ma’am.” Footsteps adopted and when Emira circled, a gold safety badge blinked and glittered in her face. On prime it learn Public Security and the underside curve learn Philadelphia.

Briar pointed up at his face. “That,” she stated, “is not the mailman.”

Emira swallowed and heard herself say, “Oh, hi.” The person stood in entrance of her and positioned his thumbs in his belt loops, however he didn’t say hi there again.

Emira touched her hair and stated, “Are you guys closing or something?” She knew this retailer would keep open for one more forty-five minutes—it stayed open, clear, and stocked till midnight on weekends—however she wished him to listen to the way in which she may discuss. From behind the safety guard’s darkish sideburns, on the different finish of the aisle, Emira noticed one other face. The grey-haired, athletic-looking girl, who had seemed to be touched by Briar’s dancing, folded her arms over her chest.
She’d set her grocery basket down by her ft.

“Ma’am,” the guard stated. Emira regarded up at his giant mouth and small eyes. He regarded like the kind of individual to have an enormous household, the type that spends holidays collectively for your complete day from begin to end, and never the kind of individual to make use of ma’am in passing. “It’s very late for someone this small,” he stated. “Is this your child?”

“No.” Emira laughed. “I’m her babysitter.”

“Alright, well . . .” he stated, “with all due respect, you don’t look like you’ve been babysitting tonight.”



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