Tag Archives: booze

Dealing with Dragon Ladies (“Match” Revision)

Day 1

I live across from a dying neon sign that says “seafoo.” It flickers through the blinds, making my bedroom/living room look like a makeshift torture chamber. The only way I can get any sleep is by leaving the TV on infomercials all night.

Day 2

Mike and Carla came to visit today. Carla goes straight for the fridge.

“The beer’s not for dragon ladies!”

“Shut the fuck up!” her squealing voice is consumed by the frosty Dos Equis house.

“Yeah. Shut the fuck up!” Mike hits me upside the head. It doesn’t bother me much that Mike hit me. I deserved it, after all. It bothered me that the bitch didn’t come over here and do it herself.

After a couple hours of drinking and watching T.V., we start commenting on the way that fat chick’s voice sounds on Operation Repo.

“She says stuff weird,” I say.

“She looks weird, too. Who cares, man?” Mike kills the last of my beer.

“Sounds like white trash. Ain’t she Latina?”

“You sound like white trash.”

“Hey. Fuck you.” I say. “I’m Chinese, bitch. Ain’t no white trash in my house.”

“Oh, right.” He and Carla look at each other and I know its trouble. It’s like two pieces of flint trying to start a fire, except the flint is two morons.

“Ah soo. Ching chong ping pong pow! Belly good. Me likey fat ratina. Likey berry much!”

I hit Mike in the face with a bottle. The bottle doesn’t break, but his jaw does.

Days 3 through 48

Bought some more beer. Life is good. The room is flickering green. I turn on the T.V. and it feels like I’m winning.

Day 49

Mike came by today.

“Been a while, Mike. Long time no see.”

“No shit, dick! You broke my jaw! I had to have it wired!”

“Yeah, but I paid for it.” I couldn’t see what he was getting at.

“But you broke my jaw! I just got the wires removed last week and it still clicks!” He had his jaw clenched, which was probably bad for it. I’m not his mom, but I did pay to fix the thing. He could take a little better care of it.

“And now you’re here. Did Carla kick you out again?”

“No! I just wanted a formal apology from you.”

“Did Carla send you for this ‘formal apology’?”

No! Well, yeah, but still… you owe me an apology!” His eyes darted around,

“The couch is all yours, man. You really need to find another girl, you know that?”

“Hey, you shut your mouth! Carla’s an angel, man! A fucking angel!” His jaw popped like a firecracker. “Ow! Fuck!”

I put a bottle to my lips. I’m not his therapist, either, but I did pay for that couch he always sleeps on.

Day 50

Mike is keeping me up all night talking on the phone. I get sick of “I’m sorry, baby,” but then they start shouting again. I can hear her voice screeching from the phone. He must be dating a velociraptor.

“Can you guys keep it down?”

“Man, I can’t help it! I’m having a crisis here!”

“Fuck, dude. Just go over there and apologize in person.”

Day 51

Carla burned down my apartment building this morning. Mike must have said something wrong.

Day 52

The hotel I’m staying at smells like cat piss. There’s a red sign across the street missing a third X. I turn on the TV but there’s nothing good on. What I really need is a drink, but Mike took my last one and his girlfriend burned my place down.

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Filed under Flash Fiction

Unique Rabbit (Revision)

Had that dream for the thousandth time. Ice cold sweats and the hangover hits my brain like a sack full of babies hitting the pavement. Left the T.V. on the Playboy channel. It’s in black and white. Just to look classy, I guess. They’re both wearing hats like in Casablanca, but that’s about all they’re wearing. Porn directors try too hard nowadays. Why even bother?

I shovel in a handful of Lady Scout cookies from the side of my bed—peanut butter today. Breakfast of champs. I bought a hundred boxes of them from Vanessa a couple years back and still have a whole closet full. She wanted to win some day camp trip or some damn thing so she could go with her friends. The cookies are all I have left of her now. The movie doesn’t turn me on at all but I knuckle off a load anyway. Makes my headache worse but I ignore it. For a second, I think I may be the only man on Earth who’s snacked on Lady Scout cookies and yanked it before getting out of bed. But there’s probably a whole mess of jerk wads like me. It’s a depressing thought. I cram a handful more cookies in my mouth before getting out of bed.

The mattress squeals and I slowly stumble over to the fridge to get some milk to wash it down. Out of milk. Lucky me.

First day back at work after my transfer. Mouth feels sticky. Chief jumps out of nowhere like one of those long-armed monkeys and claps me on the back.

“You look like Hell, Jack.”

“You’re not the prettiest guy either, Chief.” He laughs nervously. The guy’s scared of me. I punched out the chief at my old station the day after I got off personal leave. He told me it was illegal to have a rabbit doll hanging from the windshield of my squad car—obstructing vision while driving or some B.S. I stopped paying attention after he told me to take off the rabbit. That was Vanessa’s plush doll and he knew it. He had the right hook coming. Maybe not the kick in the ribs, but he was out cold by then anyway. In my defense, he was kind of a dick. Still, it could be that I needed those anger management classes.

Been working almost thirty years on the force so they let me off with a transfer to some shitty station all the way across the state, far enough from Brooklyn not to give anyone grief. I took everything with me, even the cookies.

When I was transferred, I pretty much lost all my seniority. I mean, I have it for retirement ‘n all, but I can’t be caught spraying the toilet seat or they’ll can my ass for good.

My new partner’s name is Charley. He’s a squirrelly kid with big messed up teeth (don’t they have a dental plan in this precinct?). I like to take naps on patrol but the guy never shuts up. I think they put me with him just for a lark, but I should feel lucky to still have a job. Yeah, I’m a lucky guy.

“Hey, Jack! I got a good one today,” Charley tells me as we crouch into the cruiser.

“Not today, Charley.”

“How do you catch a unique rabbit?”

“Charley, I’m about three seconds from—”

“Unique up on it!”

I died a little inside. Charley kept yapping.

“How do you catch a tame rabbit?”

“I don’t know, Charley? With a pistol?”

“The tame way! Unique up on it!” Every day with this shit. Charley’s the kind of guy that sends you forwarded messages with pictures of adorable kittens. His parents probably said “H. E. Double Hockey stick” when they were angry instead of throwing an empty beer bottle at his head. No one can stand him, but I don’t think he notices. I think he might be retarded.

“My aunt used to tell me that one.”

“Just ‘cause you had a traumatic childhood, Charles, doesn’t mean you got to lay it on the rest of us.”

“Shut up, Jack!” he sulked, then laughed.

“Just drive, you mook.” The quiet sound of the engine kicking is usually the highlight of my day.

I manage some shut-eye for a while, but I have this recurring nightmare I’ve been having for several days now. There’s this big shadow just taking my Vanessa and violating her and she screams and I want to tear this guy apart limb from limb but I can’t move. I reach my hands out but it’s like I’m chained to something. So I snarl and cry my damn eyes out until he pulls out a knife and that’s when I wake up. That’s when I always wake up, as if the first part wasn’t horrible enough. Never told my shrink about it. She’d probably just give me more pills to swallow.

I’m sweating through my shirt, breathing like a chain-smoking pitbull. Charley’s staring right at me.

“Jack, are you all right? You were rolling around in your seat. Did you have a bad dream? My dog does that sometimes when she’s dreaming about chasing small animals.”

“You got a green light!” I snap. “Look at the road, not me! Ya weirdo…” While Charles is stomping the gas, I wipe the sweat off my face. I hate those damn dreams, but I’m almost glad for them, too. They remind me of her, what she sounded like, and what happened to her. I don’t want my memories of her to fade in a drunken haze like I did with her mother after cancer slit her throat. And I don’t ever want to forgive that man, either. I want to remember. I have to.

Charley’s glancing at me again. I must have looked scary or something because his eyes are stapled to the pavement ahead of the car. Well, at least he’s paying attention to the road now. The pedestrians are always ridiculous around here. I look back at the road and I can see what looks like Vanessa stepping out in front of the car. Probably the DTs. Just as I squeeze my eyes shut to make her go away, the car screeches to a stop. The shoulder strap almost knocks the wind right out my chest.

“I almost hit that girl!” Charley cries, opening the door without even checking for oncoming traffic. The way we’re positioned has us jackknifed across both lanes.

“What girl?” I snap, opening the passenger side.

Charley is helping a young girl up from the street and apologizing about a hundred different ways. She has a jPod plugged into her ear and she dropped her phone on the street (no wonder she didn’t see the car coming). When she pushes the hair back from her eyes, though, I can feel my balls almost suck back into my stomach. She’d be fifteen by now, the same age as this girl. The same dark hair. The same freckles on her face. The same mole above her collar bone. She even has the same huffy motions when she’s mad.

I’m almost afraid. I saw Vanessa’s body the night she was murder. I ran through the barricade when I overheard it my be her. And it was—I’m sure it was. I know what my shrink would say. I used to see Vanessa all the time and she’d say I was “projecting my desires.” But this is different. This isn’t the profile of some girl walking around a corner. I mean to ask the girl if she’s okay. Instead it comes out as “Are you Vanessa?”

Charley and the girl both give me weird looks. I’m even more certain now. Vanessa gave me those same looks all the time, like I was some crazy old man and she must have been swapped at birth with another kid. “Vanessa? Is that you?”

“Get off of me!” the girl shouts, kicking me, but I’m already hugging her and sobbing like an infant.

Charley is trying to pry me off. There’s a crowd gathering. “Jack, get a hold of yourself.” I’ve seen scenes like these on T.V. where the guy’s finally cracked, so I take another look to be sure. She’s still my beautiful, big-nosed Vanessa with the dark eyes like her mother. But she looks scared as a skinned hare, so I let her go.

“You don’t recognize me? Vanessa, it’s Daddy.” Maybe my memory’s just gone to Hell. Maybe I don’t know what’s real anymore.

“Charley, I’m gonna take this girl in the car. We have to fill out some paperwork.”

“We don’t have to do that, Jack. Are you hurt, miss?”

“No, we do. Remember, code 802?”

Charley screws up his squirrelly little face trying to think. “…a cat in the road?”

“I’m fine! I’m just going to go home.” The girl wiggles her hand in the air and turns to go. Not again. I grab her other arm, trailing behind like a tail. She pulls and hollers, and I grab her other arm.

“Jack! Just let the girl go!”

“Get in the car, Charley.” Vanessa makes a small kick at my shin. My grip on her arms must be hurting her, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let go this time.

“Jack, I need you to calm down and let the girl go. We’ll talk about this later. I won’t tell the chief on you or nothing. Okay?” He smiles and nods like a dashboard bobble head.

“Get in the damn car, Charley!” I can see people gathering around in the corner of my eyes. They’re probably thinking police brutality, the way the girl is screaming. Someone is holding up his cell phone, probably taking video.

“All right, but I’m calling this in to the chief.” My asshole jumps into my stomach. I pull out my sidearm. “Get in the back, Charley. You too, Vanessa!”

Charley does what he’s told. Vanessa struggles a bit, but I manage to push her into the back of the squad car, holding her head to make sure she doesn’t hit it going in.

I start driving to the sounds of a sobbing girl. Vanessa sounds a little different from what I remember, but that’s probably puberty. Charley wastes his energy reassuring her, then me. I spend a few stoplights sweating over where to go now that I’m a kidnapper. I pull off onto the 40 going east.

“Where is he taking us?” the girl asks. She’s afraid, and reasonably so, but it’s good to hear that she’s not crying. Makes my stomach rot to hear my girl cry like that.

“I don’t know. Jack, where are we headed?” Charley’s back to being Charley, now that I don’t have a gun pointed at him. “Back to Brooklyn. Maybe she’ll remember who she was.”

“My name’s Madison. I don’t know a Vanessa.”

“CAR 67. CAR 67. WHERE ARE YOU? WE’RE GETTING REPORTS ABOUT A POLICE OFFICER PULLING OUT HIS PISTOL ON 34TH. CHARLEY. JACK! RADIO BACK AND RETURN TO HQ IMMEDIATELY.”

I pick up the radio but the girl starts screaming and bawling as soon as I do. Lying to HQ wouldn’t buy me any more time if they can hear her screaming. I click it off. They’ll be trying to track me soon if people are calling in about my exploits downtown. What am I doing? My parents must have shaken me like a pinball machine when I was a baby.

“I’m sure we can work something out with the chief. I mean, you’re a cop and it was mistaken identity. You won’t press charges, will you, Madison?” Dear God. He thinks I’m some sort of psychopath or something.

“No. I won’t. Just let me go home.”

“How old are you, Madison?” I ask gently.

“…fifteen,” she sniffles.

Same age. Same looks. By all rights, this “Madison” is my daughter.

“Then it doesn’t matter whether you want to press charges. You’re a minor, so your parents are my judge, jury, and executioner.”

“That doesn’t seem very fair. I’m the one being kidnapped,” Madison says.

“Kidnapped? No. No. Look, we just need to get to a doctor I know. He can do a blood test to tell if you’re Vanessa’s twin or if you have amnesia or something. It’s the only other explanation I can think of. Maybe I’m your real Daddy. Don’t you want to know if you’re my daughter? Don’t you want to know if you had a sister?”

“I don’t think I do. You said that she was dead. I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s any point.”

“But she’d be your sister. I mean, don’t you want to know?”

“I’m sorry. I just want to go home. I want to go back to my family. My real father is probably worried sick about me.” The car is quiet for a few minutes until Charley opens his yap.

“Hey, Madison. Want to hear a joke?”

“Charley!” I snap. “The girl doesn’t want to hear your stupid jokes!”

“Why did the woman divorce the grape?”

I growl in frustration, swerving around all the slow cars that drive five miles per hour trying not to get a ticket around the squad car.

“I don’t know. Why?”

“She was tired of raisin kids.” Madison doesn’t laugh or say anything about how lame the joke is. She just sits there in the back and I can almost hear her thinking it over. What’s there to think over a joke that stupid?

“That’s pretty harsh. So, she didn’t like the kids just because of the way they looked?” She’s taking this way too seriously.

“No. It’s just a joke—a play on words.” Charley reassures her.

“I mean, she’s tired of having kids who are raisins so now she’s going to just abandon her family?”

“I don’t know… I never thought about that. Jack, what do you think?”

“Don’t give two shits. Just you and Vanessa keep quiet. I’m gonna call my doctor friend on the cell phone.”

“My name’s not Vanessa. It’s Madison.”

I try calling but it’s his voicemail prattling on about appointments. I throw the phone in the empty passenger side. Am I going crazy? Is this girl even here? No, she’s got to be. I have to be sane. Maybe she is a twin sister that my wife gave up. They say everybody’s got a double somewhere in the world. Or did that rapist murdering fuck not really kill Vanessa? Maybe she has amnesia from the trauma? But then whose body did I see? Somebody else’s. Must’ve been. I mean, that body was almost beyond recognition. Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe forensics made a mistake.

“Jack! Sirens!” Charley shouts. Not that I’m complaining about the warning, but whose side is this numbnuts on? Does he really think I’m gonna pull over? I turn on my own sirens and step on the gas. Maybe they’re not coming after me. I click the radio…

“…67! PULL OVER! REPEAT…”

…so much for that.

I feel refreshed, gunning it past the cars as they make room for us, at least until I reach a barricade of squad cars at the tollbooths—toll roads bust my balls every time. I hammer on the breaks, and I can feel the tires on the right side leave the ground and crash back down to the earth.

I unbuckle my seatbelt and raise my hands in the air until officers raid the car, pulling me out on the hot pavement to feel me up a while until they’ve got my gun and they’re satisfied that I’m not keeping C-4 tucked under my balls.

Charley’s getting the pat down, too, though not nearly as rough. Madison’s standing there, looking every bit like my sweet Vanessa. She tries to smile at me, I think, but all it looks like is pity.

In spite of myself, I’m a little relieved. I don’t know who this girl is. I really want to know. But even if she’s not my daughter, she’s still alive and okay. Maybe better than she was with me. I can see a sliver of the moon even in the middle of the day, the taste of peanut butter in my mouth. Vanessa was always such a forward, rational thinker (she got that from her mother). She was always telling me to let things go.

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Filed under Session XXIV, Short Story

Koi (revision)

“What is that? A fish?” I asked the woman sitting next to me at the bar. I pointed to the black and white tattoo trailing up her arm. She sat almost a head taller than me, sipping the froth off a White Russian and staring straight to the back of the bar, as if the Jager on the shelf had insulted her mother. I have to admit, she was a little scary. Then again, I was pretty smashed and I would have hit on a mama grizzly if she were drinking next to me.

“Yeah. It’s a koi. A Japanese carp.” she said, in a prettier voice than I would have thought. She had a decent rack, too, but she was too muscular. Who knows why pretty girls do that to themselves.

“But you aren’t even Asian,” I said, though I was polite enough to not mention the fact that she was a woman and shouldn’t be wearing tattoos in the first place.

“Do I have to be?” She barely glanced my way.

“I guess not.” I tugged at my beer. “But why, uh… koi? Why put a fish on your arm of all things? Why not… you know? Like a butterfly or a hummingbird or something?”

Her throat opened to make way for the creamy brew. I waited as she slowly finished her pull, briskly lowering the glass to the counter. “I like koi. They actually mean something to me. When I was a little girl, I used to watch them in the pond in my backyard.”

I couldn’t imagine her as a little girl, though I didn’t tell her that. “You were rich enough to have a koi pond?”

“My dad was a businessman. He spent a lot of time and Japan and I guess he liked them enough to get some of his own.”

“Yeah? Weird. I would have thought you got your tats in prison or something.” I laughed. She didn’t. Man, this lady was making me uncomfortable. “So, um, where are you from?”

“Compton.”

I exhaled, smiling. “Oh really? Compton?” That makes sense.

“No,” she smirked into her pint. “That was a joke. I’m really from Seattle.”

“Yeah? That’s cool. What they got up there?”

“Eskimos.”

I almost smiled again, but I was catching on to her game. “That’s another joke, right?”

“Ha. Right.” She chuckled into her drink.

“What? What’s so funny?” She’s totally into me. Why are all the ugly ones so desperate?

“So, what brings you—” But before I could finish, a wild-haired black girl came running up and wrapped her arms around the big woman’s waist. “Hurry up, Joan! I want to go dancing sometime tonight!”

“Sure. Just one more thing.” She put some money down on the counter. “Bartender! One White Russian for my friend.” She looked down at me. “Alcohol wears down your bones. Got to add some calcium to grow big and strong.” She winked at me and wrapped the fish arm around the dark girl. In the same spot as the koi, there was a scary-looking dragon clawing up her other arm. It made me uncomfortable. I turned back to the counter.

Should have known she was a homo, her being so big and all. Explains a lot. I sipped the froth off my drink and thought about sucking on tits.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV

Two Words: Bukowski (Revision)

Bukowski came riding onto the L.A. coastline atop a tidal wave of cheap beer, dirty hookers, and salt water. We all shivered as he pulled that leather face out of the sand. It looked a bit like someone had carved out Al Pacino’s face and tanned it to make an Al Pacino mask.

Everything about Bukowski was extraordinary in ways that made one question God. His head looked longer than it should have been. The look he gave us was like a middle finger out of a car window. Nobody knew what to make of him. We stood, waiting for him to do something. We weren’t sure what, but we all hoped it was something amazing.

Bukowski limped onto the beach. Nobody moved to help. We simply watched as he came at us, clutching a fistful of papers like a weapon. The papers were his only defense, the only thing between him and our predatorial curiosity. Bukowski collapsed in the sand, lacking the energy to stand on his strung out legs. We tried kicking him and poking him with driftwood, but he didn’t move. It took us a while, but the bravest of us managed to pry the papers from his calloused palms.

They were words, we found. Poems. They were raw, first drafts with edits that looked like cigarette burns. Our eyes darted from the poetry to his face and back again. How could such an ugly man be so human? Why wasn’t he like one of those freaks sobbing on daytime talk shows? The entire mob began weeping violently, shedding saltwater tears onto the beach. We clawed at our faces. We stomped at the rising tides. Some of us reached for the beer bottles, some for the dirty hookers. But the bottles were full of tears and the hookers were all plastic.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV

Cat on a Hot Piano (Revision)

“Just push out the seat for him and he’ll play for us.”

“Excuse me?” the young man barked out a derisive laugh over his whiskey. “Did you just say the cat would play piano?”

“Sure did. Kick out the stool for him, will ya? He ain’t as young as he used to be.”

Old Tomboy must have been impatient or offended or something. His old bones leapt right up himself and played a jilted version of “Skimbleshanks.”

“Ooooh. Wow,” the young man murmured.

The cat didn’t even look at the boy. He just walked away, tail in the air, puckered asshole pointed in the direction of the bar patrons.

“That cat’s a helluva piano player,” the old man nodded.

 

* * *

 

Old Tomboy’s real name is Tomas Alfador Perry, but the locals have been calling him Old Tomboy since long before he was old. For seven years, that cat had played for the regulars at the Dirty Lyre. The patrons and bartenders fed him as much as he could eat and some to carry back to his wife and kids.

The regulars were violently protective of their bar’s mascot. No out-of-towner would have been able to get his in clawing range before someone threw him out of the bar. The bar was still a tourist spot for the curious traveler, but folk learned fast the proper decorum around Old Tomboy.

 

* * *

 

It was on that seventh year that the owner, one Jerry Talbot, accrued some serious debts with the mob. Gambling on top of skipping protection dues–the only reason he’d stayed in business for so long was because of reverence for the cat. But they’d reached their breaking point with Jerry, and Mr. Talbot left this world twenty-three minutes after closing time on the eleventh of May. The bar was closed for almost a month until it opened up again as Cat on a Hot Piano. It had big blue neon sign and everything. The regulars didn’t show up so much, but the tourists came in by the taxis. The drinks came in all sorts of different colors, and the bartenders were a million times hotter. They even had jazz bands and dancing. There was only one problem: nobody’d seen hide nor hair of Old Tomboy.

 

* * *

 

Townhouses around the block still leave little bits of dinner scraps and booze on their front porches now and then, though all the stories of seeing the cat are all hearsay—somebody’s aunt heard from a lady from the knitting group that the cat was prowling around Fifth and Acorn. Some folk say he might be dead, that he got sick or died of exposure. Others say we turned our backs on him, and so he left.

A lot of times people hear cats fighting in the alleys near Cat on a Hot Piano. Old Tomboy beating his wife, they say. Who knows who started that rumor, though it rings true for a lot of us.

That cat’s spinning out of control, they whisper to each other. That cat ain’t what he used to be.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV

Wine and Cigarettes (Revision)

“Don’t throw them away!” Stacie cried. ”They were so young! Life hadn’t burned them out yet!”

She dropped to her knees, pleading for her lost cigarettes.

Karen, holding a small trash bin in her hand, was not moved. “You mean you were going to burn them out!”

Stacie’s angelic pleas turned to devilish grin. “Tee hee.”

Pfft. Don’t ‘tee hee’ me! You told me you were going to quit!”

Stacie countered her patented puppy dog eyes and kitten pout. “But I needs ‘em! Puh-leez don’ take mah baybees away! I wud jus’ die.”

Guh! You’re awful, Stace. Tell you what…” Karen took the bin to the fire escape, dumping its contents to the dumpster below. Stacie clutched at Karen’s clothes, screaming for her to give her back her babies, that she was an awful, horrible woman for taking them away, an unrepentant murderer of innocent lives. A man having a smoke in the alley below looked both worried and disturbed.

“Hi!” They chimed, retreating back into the apartment. Stacie began giggling to the point where Karen thought she wouldn’t stop, so she beat her over the head one good one with the trash bin.

“Ow! Hey, Kare bear! That hurt!”

“Yeah, well that wasn’t funny! I have to live here, you know!”

“I live here, too!”

“You squat here, you mean.” Karen rubbed her temples, afflicted by her frequent migraines. “Gah. I need a drink.”

Stacie, eager to get back on her friend’s good side, went scurrying in to the kitchen.

“I’ll open us up some wine!”

“Yeah, like you need it.”

“I do! I’ll be going through nicotine withdrawals any minute now! Need something to keep the edge off.”

“Just trading one addiction for another.”

“Look who’s talking, drunkie. Here.” She handed Karen a glass. The red wine sloshed to the brim.

“What kind is this?”

“Dunno.” She turned the bottle and squinted. “Something with a French name.”

“Ah.” Karen took a liberal first sip. She didn’t actually care what it was, but it seemed the right thing to ask. Careful not to spill her good mood, Karen slumped into the couch. Stacie remained standing, pacing around with her wine. Her constant energy made Karen agitated. “Well, they do make good wine.”

“I don’t know if I like the French,” Stacie paused to keep her wine from sloshing about. “I mean, they’re so hoity toity, you know?”

“Hmph. That’s what they want you to think, Stacie my love.”

“Well, they’re doing a good job, then.”

“They’re just putting up a face to keep everyone from moving in and drinking up all their wine without paying to extra to import it.”

Stacie put out her lower lip and crossed her eyebrows. She did that when she was thinking hard. Karen thought it looked ridiculous. “I guess that makes sense,” Stacie nodded. “Maybe that’s why they can sell it to us for so much money.”

“Amen to that, sister.” Karen took another big swig and stared at the glass for a while. “You know, I really like drinking out of a wine glass. It makes me feel like I’m delicately choking a tiny person.”

“Psy-cho.”

“Hey!” Karen regretted showing her vulnerable side and began confiding in her wine. “She’s so mean to me, isn’t she?” she said, stroking the top of her glasses head. It sang a high tune back to her.

“Oh, come on, Kare Bear. I was just bein’ silly! Here. My little man’s empty. Want me to fill yours up?”

“Yes, please,” she said, watching Stacie prance into the kitchen.

“I wonder if it will always be like this?” Karen mumbled to herself. When Stacie came back with her glass, Karen drank deep and graciously.

“A toast to good friends!” Stacie smiled, her teeth stained with wine.

Salut,” Karen replied, and they delicately clinked their glasses together.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV

Drunken Stumble

You fumble for your keys, drop them on the ground and have to put your hand against the wall to keep from falling on your ass. Finding the right key again is an effort and you manage to scratch all around the keyhole before actually getting it in. The click of the door unlocking is as satisfying as taking a long-awaited shit. Finally, you can get to bed.

You kick off your shoes so hard they thump against the wall and fly across the floor. You don’t care. You just want to fall over and go to sleep. Tonight was fun, maybe too fun. You stumble down to the end of the hall where your room is, running your left hand on the wall as if you’re blind and without a cane or a dog. The hallway spins like the end of the Universal Studios tour. You want to heave, but you tell yourself as long as you can lie down, you’ll be fine. This is a lie, but you’re so drunk that you believe yourself.

Turning the knob, you lean into the door and bust into the room. You hear shuffling and you slap around for the light switch. A woman yelps and puts the sheet over her head. Your roommate is looking wide-eyed at you.

“Sorry! Sorry!” you say, turning the light back off and slamming the door behind you. You must have walked into the wrong room. You look around, confused. Your room is the last on the left, coming in. You take a few steps back, look at the hallway, and count the doors. One, two. On the right is the bathroom and your other roommate’s room. You take a few steps back down the hall, arriving at the same door. This is your room. Even in your state of intoxication, this is most definitely your room.

A little irritated and no less drunker than before, you knock open the door and flick on the lights.

“Dude. Get the fuck out of my bed.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII