“Eve” by Vincent Poturica
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.)
This week, Vincent Poturica tells the story of a woman who’s done too many bad things.
Breathing hard, Eve unlaces her shoes. She knocks them together and watches the sand fall onto the wooden stairs. She stretches her legs and watches the black waves. Eve runs every morning before sunrise, past the jetty and all the way to the sea caves. She feels better when she’s exhausted.
Eve showers quickly. She brushes her hair and teeth and puts on her makeup without looking at the mirror. She pulls on blue jeans torn at the knees, a gray T-shirt, and a Dodgers cap. She wants to look like no one.
Eve searches for her wallet and her car keys in her jeans and finds a little leftover cocaine. She wants to flush it down the toilet. But instead she dips her pinky into the powder and rubs her gums. The metal taste drips down her throat. Eve fills the little baggie with water from the bathroom sink and drinks it quickly.
In the kitchen, Mary asks Eve if she wants any oatmeal.
“I’m okay,” Eve says. “I’m never hungry after a run.” She doesn’t look up.
Coffee is waiting on the table. Eve leans her face over the hot liquid and closes her eyes. She wishes she could live inside the coffee steam. Outside, the fog is rolling.
“How are you, Eve?” Mary asks. “I didn’t hear you come in last night.”
“I’m fine,” Eve says.
She looks down at the angel tattooed on her wrist. Her friend Luis designed the woman with a little smile and two green tears falling from each eye. “Angels hurt even more than we do,” Luis had said, “from loving us even when we do bad things.” Luis is dead now. He did too many bad things.
“Well, I’m gonna go out and run a few errands,” Mary says. “You’re welcome to come with me.”
“I’d like that,” Eve says.
In the car, Mary talks on her cell phone and Eve watches the fog thicken. She loves the fog. Watching it settle over the coastline, she feels that the world looks as it should: strange and unreasonable.
Mary hangs up the phone. “So what are you gonna do, Eve?” she says. “You’ve been staying with us almost three weeks now. You need to get a job and start making some decisions.”
Eve looks at her sister and feels very sad. The cocaine is wearing off.
“I’ll start looking at the classifieds today,” Eve says. “I’m really gonna try, Mary. Please just give me a little more time.”
Mary looks at her hard. “Okay,” she says, “okay. This fog is ridiculous.”
Eve nods. She’s relieved, safe for now.
“I wonder if there’s been an accident,” Mary says.
Eve shrugs. She sees a brightness rising from the line of cars in front of them, but she thinks it’s probably the sun. Slowly the cars move and the brightness in the distance seems to harden into a vivid plate of glass, the kind that if you flicked your finger against it you’d hear a hollow ring. Eve sees that this shining is a car in flames.
“How awful,” Mary says as they near the wreckage.
Eve can’t remember the last time she saw so many colors at the same time. She doesn’t say it, but she thinks the burning car is perfect.
VINCENT POTURICA’s writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Baltimore Review, Birkensnake, Columbia Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, and New Ohio Review. He has worked as a journalist in Sri Lanka and Minnesota, but he now lives with his wife in Long Beach, CA. Sometimes he tweets: @vpoturica.
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 [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: Jun 11, 2015
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