Angst - eBook Bundle

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Collected here for the first time and exclusive to this store, the first three young adult novels of M.E. Purfield.

A Pentecostal girl not only questions her faith when she meets a Buddhist punk in her school but also what it means to be family in jesus freakz + buddha punx.

A guitarist bored with her art runs off to New York to live with her father and join the circus brewing in a time of great cultural change in Breaking Fellini.

Delicate Cutters documents a teen girl’s struggle to balance a relationship between her two best friends while trying to hide her violent pain.

Also inside is an introduction by M.E. Purfield strictly for this bundle.

Honest, poignant, and a little bit off-center. These three novels explore the voices of a struggling minority trying to survive to adulthood.


The Devil glares at me, tugs her midriff denim jacket, and places her hands on her hips. “What are you looking at, bitch?”

I turn away and stare at the Garden Apartments across the street. I wait and hope that Zenaida Cepeta (aka the Devil) grows bored, satisfied with embarrassing me in front of the school and the world. But then she shoves the back of my shoulder. I turn around.

“I’m talkin’ to you,” Zenaida says. She stands with Tamika Williams and Mary McKay on either side of her. All three girls are in the same class as me, but way taller. “You deaf or somethin’? I said what you lookin’ at?”

I press my binder and books close to my pounding heart. I know that she already knows the answer to the question. I was looking at her kiss Tommy Quinn by the bus stop in front of the school gate. I couldn’t help myself. For just a quick moment, I imagined that he was kissing me.

“Maybe she’s checkin’ out your clothes,” Tamika says. “Look at hers. Dresses like some kind of Amish bitch or something.”

“She ain’t Amish. Freaky Jesus Freak,” Mary says. “Isn’t that what they call you?”

Tamika and Mary laugh.

“You like to look at me, Jesus Freak? Huh?” Zenaida asks.

I search for help. All the kids are either smiling with anticipation of a fight or too scared to move.

Zenaida pushes my shoulder again and then knocks the books from my hands. The binder hits the sidewalk and the pages blow away with the winter wind.

“You like the show, huh?” she asks.

“I...I wasn’t...” I say.

“Why you getting all up in my shit? You pata or somethin’?”


“Lesbiana? You get off on my shit?”

I open my mouth, look her in the eye, and gasp. I know little Spanish, but I know what lesbiana means.

“No,” I say. “What?”

“Better be careful, Zenny,” Tamika says. “God might strike you down with lightnin’.”

“Or maybe you hot for my man?”

I study the ground, hoping to hide the truth from my eyes. It doesn’t work.


Zenaida punches me in the face.

I grab my stinging eye. My brain flashes black and white.

She grabs my hair and punches me in the head a few more times. When she releases me, I fall to the sidewalk and lean against the metal school gate.

“Where’s the lightnin’? Thought you were special, freak?” Zenaida looks up at the clear sky. “You see any lightnin’?”

“Nope,” Tamika says.

“Nada,” Mary says.

All three of them laugh.

“Keep your eyes to yourself,” Zenaida says.

They walk away.

I sit on the ground, whimper, and keep my face covered. I’m afraid to let it go, afraid it will fall apart. I had never been punched, never been in any kind of fight. I tap my nose to see if it’s bleeding or broken; all I find is mucus. I should stand up and go home, but I don’t want to face all the strange and staring eyes. I don’t want to see the world. I pray to Jesus to give me strength, to help me.

“Hey, you okay?”

I look up. A black girl with straight, red-streaked hair looks down at me. She holds my binder and schoolbooks. She smiles, but not in a vindictive way. This wave of compassion radiates from her.

“I think I got all the pages back,” she says. “But you might want to walk down Newark just in case.”

I grab the gate and pull myself up. I show my hands to the girl. She passes me the books.

“You sure you’re okay?” she asks.

I nod. If I speak I know I will cry.

“Okay,” the girl says. “I’m Miggy by the way. You need help getting home?”

I try to smile a thank you, but I’m sure it comes out funny. I shake my head and then start to walk home.

“Bye,” the black girl says.

“Bye,” I say back, but regret it because by the time I turn the corner the sobs come out.


 I run to my grandmother’s third floor walk-up apartment. I rush through the door, drop my books on the couch, and call for Grandma Donna. She isn’t home.

I lock myself in the small bathroom and check out my face. The reflection in the mirror makes me gasp. The skin around my blood shot eye and cheekbone has turned purple. I release a sob, cover my mouth, and sit on the edge of the tub.

“Please, Jesus. Help me be strong.”

I then realize that my face could be worse. My nose could be broken and my vision blurry. I could have lost consciousness on the street. I might have been mugged or kidnapped and used for pornography – or even raped.

“You’re okay,” I say. “Thank you, Jesus.”

I turn on the cold water and wash my face. Feeling stronger, I walk to my tiny bedroom at the back of the apartment. I change out of my school clothes and into a long, ankle-length black skirt and a blue long sleeve blouse. As I fasten the top button, I hear the apartment door close.



Smiling, Grandma Donna approaches the doorway of the bedroom. She’s wearing jeans and her favorite blue flannel shirt and her gray, thick hair is cut short. Mom used to say that her mother always looked like a tomboy, even way before Grandpa Jake met her in Ireland. I used to worry that I would look like one too, that it would to skip a generation. It didn’t. I am as girly as my mother was in her life.

“Jaysus,” she says. “What happened?” She places her palms on my cheeks and inspects my face. “Are you in pain?”

“No. Not too much.”

“Lay down. I’ll get you some ice.”

I lie on the bed, keep my legs together, and lace my hands over my belly. Grandma comes back in with an ice pack. She sits on the side of the bed and hands me the cold, blue plastic block used to keep sandwiches cool on picnics.

“Please don’t lay like that,” Grandma Donna says. “You remind me of your mother in her coffin.”

“Sorry.” I unlace my hands. One hand takes the ice pack and places it on my eye while the other lays at my side.

I explain to her what happened.

“I’m so sorry, Patty.” She shakes her head. “Bunch of savages in this world”

“It’s not your fault, Grandma.”

“I wanted you to go to a private school.”

“Daddy would die if I went to a Catholic school. Besides, we can’t afford it.”

“I would have helped. Private schools are so much safer.”

“Well, this didn’t happen in school. So please don’t worry.”

“Okay.” She smiles. “Such a brave girl. Can take a punch like her grandmother.”

Grandma cares for me the rest of the day. She offers to bring her television into my room, but I decline. Television repulses me with all its talk shows focusing on weak-willed people. Instead I re-read Corinthians II to relax and then start my homework. Grandma changes my ice pack every half hour and makes my favorite dinner of ravioli and meatballs.

Although I have Grandma Donna, homework, and the Bible to distract me, I still worry about Dad’s possible reaction to the fight. Not that my father is a violent person and would punish me, but because he’s been under a lot of stress since Mom died of breast cancer three years ago. I don’t want to create any more problems for him.

Later that night, I hear Dad come home from work. I’m dozing in bed when he sneaks into the room and kisses the top of my head. He tells me that he loves me, his breath laced with strong mint.

Grandma Donna must not have told him about the fight. Or maybe he wants to save the conversation for the morning and let me rest. I hope he doesn’t know yet. I don’t want him to lose any sleep.

Unfortunately, I do.

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Angst - eBook Bundle

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