“Laugh Now” by Jess C Scott
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, Jess C Scott takes us inside the mind of a man who can’t stop killing.
Megan—she was a stunner, the first woman I ever asked out on a date after my painful history of being the awkward nerd in high school.
I gave her my time and friendship. I even let her cry on my shoulder when she had no one else to turn to. She didn’t know I was in the next room listening to her talk to a girlfriend over the phone.
“Tommy’s an annoying little man!” she snickered, before casually mentioning she got a new boyfriend every three months.
Her sniggering was cruel. I didn’t deserve to be spat upon that way.
The day after, she made a post on Facebook about the joys and fears of a solo hiking trip. She was planning to hike along the scenic Lakeside Trail over the weekend, where she would camp for one night.
That’s where I got her, where I smothered her in her own tent before leaving her to drown in a nearby stream. It filled me with peace, knowing she could no longer treat men like recycled pieces of trash.
Three months passed before I got the next urge for a release.
This time it was Phoebe, the gold-digging, soon-to-be former wife of my best and only friend from junior high. She treated Joey like a doormat, expecting him to earn millions and wash the dishes while he was at it. She laughed in his face, saying she was leaving him for an older man who could treat her right like “the princess” she was.
I kidnapped Phoebe in broad daylight, after borrowing a friend’s white van to carry out the deed. Her petite body fit easily into a makeshift coffin lined with tarp. In a faraway empty field, I slit the bitch’s throat so she couldn’t scream, then strangled her with her own shoelaces. On the way back, I got rid of the full-body poncho I wore throughout the execution, smiling at the fact that Joey would no longer have to suffer the pain of her incessant, nagging voice.
Joey had a friend he could count on. What else would have saved him from having to deal with endless alimony payments and custody trials? Action vindicated.
Three months have passed since then. Last night, I did it again.
I didn’t know the name of this one. She was a neighbor living in the same apartment building as me. I recognized her piggy face and gaping mouth in the all-female audience of a popular TV talk show as she and her fellow sisters horse-laughed.
“Imagine that,” snarled the red-haired hick of a guest host, “that . . . floppy, droopy thing, thrown away in a garbage bin!”
The audience went wild over the latest news report of a jealous wife in California. She had castrated her husband in order to teach him a lesson.
What kind of message are we sending to our sons and daughters when women—and women only—are allowed to publicly rejoice at the debilitating consequences a man is subject to as a result of a hate crime?
No one sees hypocrisy when it’s all around and all you know.
Those peals of vicious laughter brought me back to Megan, to Phoebe, to that moment where I reigned supreme, to the moment I could heal betrayal, to the only moment that rewarded me by putting vapid, shallow sluts in their rightful place.
I donned a UPS cap and uniform and set out to deliver a cooler box to the entrance of the TV studio in the early hours of the morning. A mustache and green contacts were part of my disguise.
Inside the cooler was the mutilated, breastless corpse of my neighbor.
I am coolly watching and waiting in a cafe opposite the studio building, dressed in a spotless white shirt and jeans, blended in with the crowd.
I am keen to observe how the TV show’s anchors will react. What will they tell their gaggle of faithful disciples, who hang on every word from their moist lips?
Go on. Laugh now.
Arouse the little man once more.
JESS C SCOTT has work appearing or forthcoming in Word Riot, Bards & Sages Quarterly, OpEdNews, The Online Citizen, and The Maine Review. San Francisco Book Review describes her crime novel Playmates as “a psychological thriller at its best.” Jess participated in a literary debate at the 2012 Singapore Writers Festival. Her website is http://www.jessINK.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 [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 30, 2014
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