Tayen Lane Publishing
Zdravka Evtimova
“Pay Me”

“Pay Me,” is Zdravka Evtimova’s short story that is included in the Tayen Lane Publishing’s anthology ARTICULATED (2016). Evtimova lives in Bulgaria where she works as a literary translator. She has published several story collections and her work has appeared in the UK, the United States, and elsewhere.


Kelly Luce, who selected the story to be featured on Electric Lit, said this about the work:


“Pay Me” is classic Zdravka Evtimova. It’s the story of Maria, a woman of insatiable appetite who works odd jobs in her small town. She seems to her boss, a man of great means but little imagination, to have come from nowhere, and slowly, he falls under the spell of this “thin, long thread of a woman” in too-large secondhand clothes. This is not a fairy tale, and yet there’s something both secret-princess and witchlike about Maria. Walt Disney would have no idea what to do with this woman. And that is precisely why I love her.


Like all great characters, Maria is a force, a type of gravity that bends the story around her. She is mysterious yet wholly satisfying, surprising at every turn to everyone but herself. She is fierce, cruel, and lends new meaning to the phrase “give zero fucks.” She is concerned with survival, with desire, with the visceral and practical, with how the world can be of use.


We need more female characters like this.

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