“Defriended” by Ali Eteraz
Thursdaze (because the weekend won’t come fast enough) features original flash fiction modeled after our Drug Chronicles Series. Each story is an original one, and each encapsulates the author’s fictional experience with drugs. Our print series has anthologized authors writing about marijuana, cocaine, speed, and heroin, but contributors to the web series can focus on any drug, real or imagined, controlled or prescribed, illegal or soon-to-be legalized. Submissions to Thursdaze will be judged on an author’s ability to stylistically emulate his or her substance of choice. Submissions are also limited to 750 words, so try to focus. (They have a pill for that.)
by Ali Eteraz
My friend, if I don’t put up things for you to “like” it’s not because I don’t love you, but because I remember what you and I used to be: when you would write a book of comments if I simply sighed; when you tore into soliloquies if I played with the arrangement of my profile; when you inundated my inbox with Neruda and Lorca and all the other lords of cadence, just because you thought I was on the verge of deactivation. There was something primitive about your engagement in my life’s timeline then. You didn’t sit with your feet up watching it idle past you, like a gluesniffer on some cargo train in the desert of Arizona. You were, instead, a marauder and a dacoit, a pirate and a terrorist, upturning the caravan of my conscience, tearing open the shirts and skirts of my privacy, holding me down by the neck and whispering in my ear that there would be endless war between us because we were destined for eternal engagement in each others’ affairs. But now there is none of that. Some faceless analytics person knows more about me than you do. Some marketing firm investigates my activity more closely. Some whistleblower flees across the globe with my data under his armpit. My friend! Do you think we will go back to that time? The time before correspondence with upturned thumbs? The time before we signed our messages with time stamps instead of our names? Back when our friendship was not a thing we could take for granted, was not a check mark made that couldn’t be unmade, but was a beacon of some auspicious event, as pregnant and as silly as the possibility of alien encounters, as the possibility of an antichrist rising? I suppose I do still have that hope. But it’s not really the innocent child it used to be. I have let it put on makeup and take off its clothes and go out into the throngs and dance for attention. You have, in short, condemned me to be shameless. My friend, was this always your plot? Answer me! Were you only ever looking for an entertainer?
ALI ETERAZ is the author of the novel Native Believer (Akashic, 2016), a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice selection. He grew up in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the American South. He is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Children of Dust (HarperCollins, 2009). It was selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year and was featured on PBS, NPR, and C-SPAN2. Find him online: http://alieteraz.com
Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Thursdaze flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your submission should never have been published elsewhere.
—Your story should feature a drug, any drug, and your character’s experience with it. We’ll consider everything from caffeine to opium, and look forward to stories ranging from casual use to addiction to recovery. Stylistically, we’ll respond most favorable to stories that capture the mood and rhythm of your drug of choice.
—Include your drug of choice next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to [email protected], and include THURSDAZE in the subject line. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
About the Drug Chronicles Series: Inspired by the ongoing international success of the city-based Akashic Noir Series,Akashic created the Drug Chronicles Series. The anthologies in the series feature original short stories from acclaimed authors, each of whom focuses on their fictional experience with the title drug. Current releases in the series include The Speed Chronicles (Sherman Alexie, William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott, James Franco, Beth Lisick, Tao Lin, etc.), The Cocaine Chronicles (Lee Child, Laura Lippman, etc.), The Heroin Chronicles (Eric Bogosian, Jerry Stahl, Lydia Lunch, etc.), and The Marijuana Chronicles (Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Linda Yablonsky, etc.).
Posted: Oct 17, 2013
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