“Shiny High Heels” by Victoria Fryer
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.)
Shiny High Heels
by Victoria Fryer
You snorted a rail so long I thought for sure it would knock you over, but you just threw your head back and asked me where I kept my champagne. With your pupils dilated, your jaw set hard, you strode across my apartment in your ridiculous red high heels and poured yourself a glass, bending down to lick up the overflowing liquid. You were still fun then, on day one. They all are.
When you got to talking, I couldn’t shut you up. You told me about the time you worked as a waitress for some cheesy Mexican joint downtown but quit after a week because your boyfriend crashed your car. You told me that you don’t believe in god, but you might believe in spirits, you’re just not sure yet. You told me that you love the way a cello sounds, but you cannot stand the oboe. You said, “I’m a huge fan of Baudrillard. Aren’t you?” I just shrugged.
Then you told me you wanted more for yourself, someday. You gazed into the distance as you said it, like you were looking for it, your eyes pulsing and shaking a little. More. I never wanted more for myself. All I want is this. Eventually you tottered over to me in your heels, looking a little unsteady, and laid down on the bed. I cut you out another rail because you still looked so pretty. All I want is this.
Thirty-six hours in, you started looking out the window, flipping back the edges of my blinds until they stuck that way, deformed like an eyelid peeled back. I couldn’t see anything but black from where I sat, but you stood there for hours in those stupid high heeled shoes, watching the parking lot and waiting for something to happen. “Do you see those lights?” you asked me. “Do you hear that? Those sirens?”
And then you were stacking pots and pans in front of the kitchen door. The largest pot on the bottom, skillets stacked in the middle, and saucepans on top. The handles splayed out in all directions, for balance and to catch intruders. The barricade, you called it. “If something tries to come inside, we’ll hear it,” you said.
When you stopped talking, I couldn’t get you to start again. You would tear down and rebuild the barricade in front of the apartment door. You would stand in front of the bathroom mirror and pick at your face until you bled. You would gaze out the window expectantly; you said you knew they were coming. I tried to get you to come to bed, but you wouldn’t dare. “I have to keep watching.” Your mouth moved in less than a whisper.
The fifth day and the apartment was a shambles—blankets strewn on the floor, cups in the couch cushions, plates covered in shiny glass dust. You lined empty champagne bottles in front of every window. You crawled around the apartment on your hands and knees, picking through the carpet for specks we may have dropped, something to bump you up. Every piece you picked up: “That’s drywall,” I’d say, or “Just carpet lint.” I should have let you snort them.
I stopped cutting you lines then, but you just tore through the apartment until you found my stash. I watched you lope around in those too-tall shoes, looking for salvation. It made me sick; that’s the first time I hit you. I swear it was the first time. (Your junkie memory might fuck with you; don’t trust it.)
It wasn’t until the third or fourth time that you finally stomped out of the apartment. “I don’t have to take this.” Your voice still gone, just a pair of lips moving. I laughed. You’d never make it out of the parking lot. I watched you maneuver around your barricade—still careful not to displace it, afraid of the noise it might make—and walk out the door. I thought you might slam it, but it just clicked quietly into place.
I didn’t follow you. I guess you might remember it differently, but you’re just a fucking junkie. Who would believe you? They found you later, lying at the bottom of the stairs, splayed out and bloody. Next to you lay your pretty red shoes, those shiny high heels, empty of feet.
VICTORIA FRYER is a Texas native currently living in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and two dogs. Her work has appeared in Wayman Publishing’s Fractured Fairy Tales anthology and Epigraph magazine, and she has poems forthcoming in Flutter Poetry Journal and the Local Gems Poetry Press Sounds of Solace anthology.
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 3, 2013
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