“On Holiday” by Jennifer Schaefer
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, Jennifer Schaefer takes a vacation in Ibiza.
In her poky hotel bathroom, Sallie filled up a glass with water from the sink. It wasn’t until she’d swallowed the pill—some generic form of Valium—that she stopped to wonder if the water was okay to drink. Oh well, she thought as she stepped into her red bikini bottoms. Too late now.
Down by the pool, she melted into a rubbery white lounger. Aside from the dueling techno tracks blaring from two balconies, the place was pretty quiet. But oh crap—a dozen or so holidaymakers heading her way. Ibiza was full of these so-called Club Eighteen-to-Thirtiers, these young, mainly British people who traveled here to hit the twenty-four-hour clubs, get trashed, sunburned, laid.
Sallie sat up and scowled at the rowdy Eighteen-to-Thirtiers and their pornographic pool games. It was a sad sight, her pristine water polluted with people on rafts miming sexual positions and licking whipped cream from bikini-clad crotches.
The guy leading the games, the holiday rep, was a beefy guy in orange swim trunks and a T-shirt declaring: REHAB IS FOR QUITTERS. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he bellowed, “Eh! I forgot to ask: anyone here got a heart condition, asthma, diabetes? Anyone pregnant?” Then, with a wink in Sallie’s direction, added, “Anyone wanna be?”
Irish, she thought as her heavy lids slid shut. But then they popped open as her body was eclipsed by a cool shadow—the holiday rep, clutching a shot glass. “Ya look like you could use a drink there, darlin’.”
“What is it?”
“Sounds lovely,” she snorted.
He pressed the glass to her mouth. “It’s good. Trust me, darlin’.”
It was good—not too strong; sweet without being sickly. “Pull up a chair.”
“Can’t.” He nodded at the shrieking, thrashing pool. “Gotta keep an eye on the kiddies. You’re American.”
“It’s that obvious, huh? Sallie Windsor. But I live in London now.”
“Shea O’Sullivan,” he said, snagging her offered hand. “Windsor,” he stated, finally releasing her. “That’s a good name.”
“Too bad it’s about to change.”
It took a few moments to register, but when it did, he stood up. “All the pretty ones are taken.” But then he switched gears. “Ya sure ya know what you’re doin,’ darlin’? American guys are so boring.”
“I agree. But my fiancé’s not American. He’s English.”
His smile flipped into a sour frown. “Even worse.” He tilted his head at her in that cocky way that struck her as distinctly Irish. “So where’s your fiancé now, darlin’? Back in London, is he? Give us your number. I’ll ring you later.”
“Like I’d give a total stranger my number.”
“Your loss,” he said, swaggering back to the pool.
She couldn’t help but watch him prowl about the edge of the pool, hollering at the English holidaymakers, making them perform degrading aquatic tricks like trained circus seals. In fact, it seemed more like they were the ones working for him rather than the other way around.
Suddenly, her stomach lurched. What an idiot she was, doing that shot on top of the Valium! Or maybe that tap water had been bad after all. After shakily gathering her things, she headed for the ladies’ room in the hotel lobby. Blessedly alone, she braced herself against the cold granite sink, fully prepared to puke. But no sooner had it struck than the nausea passed.
She left the ladies’ room to find Shea waiting. Gripping her waist, he pushed her against the wall. “What’s your phone number?” She tried to wriggle free, but he had her nailed to the wall. “Take it easy, girl.”
Her heavy head lolled against his chest. “What is it,” she mumbled, “you want?”
Then, to her shock, he spun her around and swatted her bottom. Hard.
That did the trick. “Okay, fine,” she laughed, slowly reciting her number. Next thing she knew, she was stumbling back to her room and collapsing into bed, not even bothering to change out of her bikini. But barely two hours later, her beautifully deep, black sleep was broken by her cell phone. “Hello?”
“I wanna see you.”
She hesitated. Poor Philip, back in London.
“Look, darlin’, I know you got a big fuckin’ anchor attached to you, but I don’t care. I wanna see you.”
“I dunno. I was kind of out of it earlier.”
“From the shot? You seemed all right to me.”
Oh, what the hell, she decided, rattling off her room number. She was on holiday.
JENNIFER SCHAEFER is a Chicago-area writer. You can read more excerpts from her decadent London-based novel, The Salamander’s Slipper, in Curbside Splendor literary journal, Zouch Magazine, and previously in Thursdaze . Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune Printers Row. Jennifer recently completed a second novel, Wren Faire, a YA fantasy adventure story set in a cultish Renaissance Faire. For more info, please visit: www.jenschaefer.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: Dec 4, 2014
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