Following the success of the Mondays Are Murder series, Akashic introduces Thursdaze (because the weekend won’t come fast enough), modeled after our highly addictive Akashic Drug Chronicles Series—which has produced volumes on marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and speed. Stories in Thursdaze, as in the printed anthologies, encapsulate the writer’s fictional experience with marijuana, speed, heroin, cocaine, or any other drug, real or imagined, controlled or prescribed, illegal or soon-to-be legalized. Like Mondays Are Murder, stories in this series must adhere to a 750-word limit. There is an emphasis placed on stories that stylistically emulate the drug of choice, allowing readers to indulge risk-free. Thursdaze is your fiction fix to help you power through to the weekend.
A hole at the base of a crumbling T-wall was the only point of entry to the group’s hideaway. Inside they were like kids in a clubhouse. They felt safe there, the wash of incandescent lighting creating shadows from every angle. They could drink, smoke, play cards, and talk shit about everybody they worked with without fear of outsiders or superiors intruding . . .
You tiptoe through the dark labyrinth of the Hive until you reach the tiny room where you’ve spent every Thursday night for the last couple of months toiling away to no avail. The stench of Gouda, Kathleen’s patchouli, and the tang of potentially unfulfilled dreams waft through the air. A metal chair screeches against the gray linoleum when you pull it out, causing everyone to gawk at you. Kathleen rolls her eyes but does not relent. The weak smile spreading across your face fades as you remind yourself that this is the last time you’re going to see these people—your people. You promise yourself that you won’t sip wine or munch crackers or make small talk when this is all over. Saying goodbye is hard enough without all the empty calories and tedious chatter. You swear to yourself this is going to be the last time you pay to play. Your pocketbook and soul can’t take it anymore.
Les’s twenty-foot RV was parked in the gravel drive of a little house with a sagging roof. Plastic deer nestled into the flower beds around it, among clumps of zinnias and cracked planters full of wilting petunias. Some friends of Les’s lived there with their ailing grandmother, no doubt appropriating her Social Security checks and pain meds. I’d only met them in passing, a lank-haired woman and her scraggly-mustached boyfriend.
I hated myself for being there, but I parked next to a dirty old Toyota sedan and hauled myself out of the car anyway. Fuck it, I told myself. Are you really trying to be one of those dorks with a clean life and an office job? Who are you kidding? I sank down beneath my guilt and worry, settling back into the comfortable hog wallow of my ignominy as I mounted the stairs of the RV.
The door rattled when I opened it, and I stepped in, very nearly falling back out again when I found myself at the end of a pistol . . .
Tater. His real name was Willam Francis McKinny III, but he got the name Tater because he was about as useless as a potato on legs when he drank. His best friend Nick Plakowitz named him that soon after the two of them started stealing Jim Beam from Nick’s dad’s liquor locker in the basement that was set up like a pool hall. Nick poured water in the square booze bottle so his dad wouldn’t know.
Tater said, “He’s gonna know.”
“Nah, he don’t want to deal with it. He too busy with that paint business of his.”
Tater shrugged. Nick’s dad never said a word . . .
The wind won’t stop banging the bougainvillea against our fence, and the tap tap tap is beating into my skull. My eyes dart around the bedroom, but all I see are hulking shapes. I know they’re our dresser and bookshelf, but at night they look meaningless.