Emma Cline's "Marion" was shockingly chosen by The Paris Review for their first collaboration with @topstories and photographer Molly Matalon who "created a suite of images evoking the mood of Emma Cline's 2013 short story, "Marion", a coming-of-age tale of a girl in California."
In "Marion", the eleven-year-old narrator visited thirteen-year-old Marion on her California ranch in a house with "delicate Victorian detailing" where Bobby, Mario's father, kissed the nymphets "good night square on the mouth."
Marion liked to smoke hand-rolled cigarettes, wear bikini tops and tease men:
"Marion was wearing her shorts over her favorite bright orange bikini, nubby fabric stretched tight across her breasts, her shoulders shining from sunscreen [...] Marion knew she was something pretty in that suit. Men stared at her, and she liked it. When Jack [Marion's father's friend] first came for dinner at the ranch, he would follow Marion with his eyes when she got up from the table. That day, when Jack watched Marion in the barn as he rolled a cigarette for her, I felt a flint of heat in my insides."
The girls were scandalously jealous of thirteen-year-old Samantha Geimer, who was drugged, raped and sodomized by Roman Polanski.
"A thirteen-year-old girl. We talked about that a lot, what the girl might have looked like, how Roman Polanski knew her, how it had happened. Did she have breasts? Did she have her period yet? We were jealous, imagining a boyfriend who wanted you so bad he broke the law."
Marion wasn't sure if her father's friend liked he; so, some investigative work was done.
"Marion had told me to watch him and tell her later if I thought he liked her [...] I took note when Jack looked at the door or at Marion’s slim thighs in cutoffs."
The story is set in a pre-smartphone era, but that didn't stop the nymphets from taking nude photos with a Kodamatic.
"Marion [...] took me up into the hills, where she stripped and had me take pictures of her naked body laid out on rocks. “You’ll be good at this, I know it,” she said. She tied a red ribbon around her throat like she had seen on one of the girls in Playboy."
Marion advised, "You keep men on their toes. You make them miss you," before she wrote "Jack's name on her body, on the bottoms of her feet, where the ink slid into the whorls. I saw it all when we changed for bed."
The nymphets returned to the hills for another round of nude pictures. This time the eleven-year-old narrator posed before the girls shared a lipstick lesbian kiss.
“You look good,” Marion said, her face hidden by the camera. She was taking pictures from far away, squatting in the dirt.
“You look young, really great.”
Then she came close with the camera, so close she touched the lens to the tip of my nipple, then cackled and collapsed on the grass.
“It’s hard,” she gasped.
I started to step into my cutoffs, but Marion leapt up and came toward me. She threw her arms around my neck, loose like a child, and kissed me with her eyes open. “It’s okay,” she said. “Pretend I’m Jack. Look sleepy. Look sexy. Try to look like I do.” We were breathing hard.