“Suicide Note #3” by David L. Robb
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.)
Suicide Note #3
by David L. Robb
I shouldn’t have dropped acid today. But then, that’s what I always say. I live on the third floor of the Mars Motel in Yuba City. If you lived in the Mars Motel in Yuba City, you’d drop acid, too. But this time is different. A few minutes ago, I looked out my window and saw a ballerina get run over by a bus. She’s laying down there in the street right now, her tutu torn and bloody, a ballet slipper thrown out into the traffic and being squashed repeatedly by oncoming cars. A policeman is down there keeping the crowd at bay; sirens in the distance; another truck runs over the flattened slipper. The gathering crowd, curious but cautious, circles in the crosswalks. They go around and around, circling counter-clockwise, one collective eye on the crushed ballerina, one eye on the walk/don’t-walk sign.
A young punk just dodged through the police line and scooped up the flattened ballet slipper and he’s running down the street with it right now, shouting and waving it over his head, chased by his friends who swipe at it as if it were a brass ring. They must be on acid, too.
The sirens are gone now. The street is empty. It’s late afternoon and very quiet in my room. I can almost hear my eyes blinking. Damn it! Why did I start thinking about that? Whenever I think about blinking I become self-conscious about it. Am I blinking too much? Am I not blinking enough? How does one ever know?
I check online. I Google ‘eye’ and ‘blinking’ and ‘average.’ It turns out the average person blinks 10 to 30 times per minute. But am I average? How does one ever know? By definition, half the people are below average, and half the people are above average. And yet, everyone thinks they’re above average.
I just got back from the park. My neighbor, a nice junkie named Russ, knocked on the door and asked if I wanted to go, so I said ok. We drove in his old Honda Accord, or something that looks like an old Honda Accord. Cars all look alike to me.
When we got to the park, we walked over to the swings. He pushed me for a while and then said he had to meet his connection. He said he’d meet me back at the car in 10 minutes.
It was cold. I was sitting on the swing, watching the clouds and cars go by, when all of a sudden, the neighborhood blinked off and then back on, and then everything started happening at the same time: A dog barked, a car honked its horn, and it started drizzling. The sky darkened, a paper bag blew across the playground, and across the street, I heard a screen door slam. And it all seemed connected—each to the other, all happening at once.
I walked back to the parking lot and waited for Russ in his car—at least, I thought it was his car. The dashboard seemed familiar, but the steering wheel didn’t look right. Then I thought, “Maybe this is the wrong car.” Maybe somebody’s going to come over and say, “Hey, what are you doing in my car?” I was starting to panic when Russ walked up and got in. He drove me back to the motel.
I’m back at my laptop now, but everything is still happening at once. Electricity is moving through the wires in the walls; a phone is ringing down the hall; water is sitting in the pipes waiting for the turn of a faucet; dust is gathering on the windowsills; radio and television waves are bouncing around the room, passing through my body; and the phone is still ringing and ringing and ringing. It just won’t stop.
Jesus Christ! What was that? Something just flew into my room and then back out the window. Was it a bird? Or the ghost of a dead bird?
All my life I wished I were a bird, flying free, singing happy songs, sitting on wires. But what’s the use? That’s not the kind of bird I’d be. I’d probably be a sickly parakeet with clipped wings sitting in an overcrowded cage at Petco, watching the flies swarming lazily around the store, and wishing I were a fly.
I think I’ll jump out the window and see if I can fly.
DAVID L. ROBB is an award-winning journalist who has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times. He is the author of The Horror and the Boredom: The Collected Suicide Notes of James and Louise Lucky. His nonfiction books include: Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon shapes and Censors the Movies; The Gumshoe and the Shrink: The Secret History of the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon Election; The Stuntwoman: The True Story of a Hollywood Heroine; and Unsung Villains: History’s Forgotten Monsters, Murders and Maniacs. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kelly.
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: Aug 29, 2013
Featured: Music/Popular Culture/Art
- What Is Punk?
- Of Mule and Man
- Sale Nelson George Two Book Set
- South of the Pumphouse
- Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix this Broken Democracy!
- Copycat: And a Litter of Other Cats
- Animals and Objects In and Out of Water
- What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches – LIMITED EDITION SIGNED PACKAGE
- Bronx Biannual: The Literary Journal of Urbane Urban Literature
- Drawing Autism
- Go Fish