Yet another installment of Unfinished Stories wherein one writes the beginning to a story, submits it to our ringleader Jeffery Crow, who then gives you a story to finish. The following is a collaboration between Dawn Locklear and myself. You can find more like this on Jeff’s blog: http://www.swordnquill.com
The florescent light clashes with the sun streaming through small and high windows over the office kitchenette. That’s about the most interesting thing in the place, the rest is sort of painfully typical–disappointing. It’s a tight space. Secondhand appliances crowed the counter, and passive-agressive, coffee-stained notes about cleaning up after oneself are Scotch Taped about. We’re all hiding. Well, I’m not. I’m rifling through the first-aid kit that hangs from the wall opposite the microwave, searching, but it’s growing more futile. Dan and Jen are hiding. Dan’s gaze is buried in his phone, but he still manages to match Jen’s fervency and disdain. They’re whispering loudly. Too loudly, but I don’t care enough anymore to suggest they keep it down.
Jen’s tote is slung over her shoulder, it looks uncomfortable, but she also doesn’t care. Her voice seems strained; she’s whispering so goddamn loud, “The upside to this is that she’s such a cunt she’s convinced me to go out to lunch. Either of you want to come?” Jen punctuates her request with a quick, tight-lipped smile.
I’m giving up on the triage through the first-aid kit, tossing pill packets aside when I blurt out, “This is all fucking expired. Do either of you have any aspirin?”
“Yeah,” Jen starts as she relaxes her shoulder to let her tote slide down. She’s digging through the special kind of abyss that is a woman’s bag, “I think I have some Midol in here.”
I must look some kind of way because Dan has actually allowed his attention to stray from his Galaxy and is eyeing me with concern. Or pity. God, I think Dan pities me right now. God, he’s opening his mouth. I’m dreading this. “Are you OK?” That’s all he says and I’m kind of relieved. His attention quickly strays, which usually annoys me, but this time I’m grateful he doesn’t bother to wait for an answer. Aiming his question at Jen, Dan asks somewhere between a plea and a whine, “If I go will you drink with me? To spite Cunty McCunterson.”
I shoot a hard glance at Dan, “You can’t say that.” He can’t say that. I don’t care how much of a cunt this woman’s being, he can’t say that.
“What? It’s true. You hate her too.” Dan doesn’t get it. Dan never fucking gets it.
“You can’t say ‘cunt’.” I try to simplify things.
“That’s bullshit. Jen just said it.”
Jen finally shakes out a few pills into my hand and I crane my neck under the faucet of the kitchen sink and turn the water on. The sink itself is tiny, like a water fountain and my hair touches the bottom on the basin. It’s grosses me out. I take a swig, get my head out of there and throw the pills back to wash down with the water. As I’m wiping my mouth I reiterate to dan that it doesn’t matter, HE can’t say that.
“Yes, Dan I’ll surely be drinking.” Jen is trying to cut our tension and she turns toward me rather impatiently, “Are you coming?”
Dan shoves his phone in his pocket and they’re both squared up facing me, poised to get the hell out of this fucking kitchenette. But something doesn’t feel right. Maybe I’m just lightheaded from whipping my head out from under the faucet. I can’t tell, but something’s a little off.
Of course it’s all off, my head feels like it’s going to break off. “You two go on, I need to sit down.”
They both roll their eyes at me and spin on their heels in unison to leave. As my eyes close, I jump at the slamming door. They are both the worst fucks, I gotta leave this place. Eyes close again to still the headache.
What fucking dumb shits…BOOM, CRASH.
Horns blaring and cars collide jar me up and on my feet to the window. All I can see looking down at the street is Jen’s stupid pink coat. Oh geeze, they look dead. Are they dead? Sirens blare and my head is suddenly clear. Do I go down there, do I stay? Do I hide like them?
I hurry down the several flights of stairs and the first thing I see is blood draining from under cars and that awful pink coat. Police are just at the scene to take charge and back up the people.
I just stand there, staring. I’m not hiding now. As a matter of fact, I start to wonder how I can change the apartment around. How getting rid of all their disgusting shit will be so good, even freeing. Is that evil for me to think? Especially now?
Damn it. It is. But I really hate them and I didn’t cause their demise. Or did I? Constantly fed up with them and pissed off…did I save myself from this crash on purpose? Did my head really hurt that bad to stop me from going or was that feeling of something wrong making my head feel like it was going to fall off?
Panic sets in as I stumble up the stairs and my body starts to shake while bolting the door.
I barely make it to the window to look down again, WHAT THE FUCK?
They’re gone. No blood, no bodies, no police, no commotion. SHIT-FUCK…