“One time this was fun” by Hillary Fink
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, Hillary Fink remembers both the good times and the bad.
I feel myself drift away. My body is no longer mine, and the words coming out of my mouth sound foreign and out of character. The car starts to pick up, and my friend’s laugh sounds as though it is light-years away, even though she is so close her hand is on top of mine.
I know something bad is just moments away from happening. I know this, and yet I do nothing to stop it. I can’t. I drift in and out of consciousness. My head rolls around on my body like a buoy in rough seas. This is what we tell each other is fun. “These are the moments we live for,” I heard a stranger say at the house only an hour before. They said this between sips of cheap liquor and hazy red eyes. I agreed with them at the time. I always did in the beginning.
I remember the first time I had a beer. The excitement and forbiddance it held within its icy glass bottle. The smooth bubbles with their sharp bitter taste, making me wince with each swallow. I hated the taste, but I forced it upon myself, like a parent forces a child to eat vegetables. I loved the way it made me feel and the possibilities it brought into my life. I soon came to live for the woozy free feeling it gave me as each night I slowly drifted away from my own body.
It quickly came to define me. My sober, quiet self was no longer known. It wasn’t there as my hand felt through the jewelry boxes of loved ones to sell; it was there as his hand slipped up my shirt and his lips left a trail of sloppy kisses along my neck; and it wasn’t there as I sat in the backseat of the Buick as the rain made the roads invisible and our driver’s rum breath fogged the air. “He thinks he can make the car fly,” he says, and proceeds to accelerate the gas. Maybe he’s right; it feels as though we are flying.
A state of Zen washes over me, and for a moment I believe that I have been transported away from this place. I believe that I am safe and that whatever is going to happen will happen, but it won’t happen to me. For a moment, my mind is once again innocent.
I hear the yelling first, and then I hear the laughter. The yelling is so distant, but the laughing is coming from my own mouth. It is childlike, obnoxiously delightful laughter that pours from my lips as I quickly begin to piece together where I am. I am on top of Charlotte, my friend, and we join together in laughter. I look up and see the window above us, and I see a hand reaching for one of us to grab it. I crawl within the overturned car, up toward the hand and the night sky, where my laughter will be out of place. I crawl toward reality.
These are not the moments we remember, the good times that were once promised to me, the excitement that I wanted out of each sip I took. My face is bruised and my body aches. The car we just crawled out of is on its side. Each of us stumbles around the car in a zombified state, a little drunk and a little in shock. Before the cars, the drugs, the stealing, and the blackouts, this was fun. We never thought it would lead to this. I knew the stories told from experience and the talks dripping with love, hoping to envelop me in care and prevent this. I never listened, because at one time this was fun.
HILLARY FINK is a full-time student completing a degree in English and criminology. She is an espresso-fueled short story and poetry writer, inspired by topics of gender, social conflict, and all thing incredibly uncomfortable to question. She resides in New York with her cat.
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: Sep 17, 2015
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