Pretty Short

Crack (2)

Et voila! says Jonnie, with a flourish.

The place is pretty sweet. You step out of the elevator. One of those key lock elevators that open into the apartment, like in the movies.

The ceilings are high and molded. There are tall sash windows with leaded panes. Yes, you feel like you can maybe taste air again.

Then he leaves you.

There’s a gallon of milk and three microwave dinners in the fridge.

Far below, mangled swings in a playground, a liquor store and a sign. ICE OLD EER.

Voices through the wall – Fuck you. No, fuck you.

You fumble for your phone, then you realize he took it. Your laptop’s on the table.

Unauthorized webpage.

Jonnie’s there, smiling.

Everything okay?

He lays a cool palm on the back of your neck. He switches off his smile and the overhead light, picks the keycard back up from the counter, and he’s gone again.

The setting sun makes drops of blood out of the glass roses, across the polished oak floor.

No, you say to the closing doors, in the darkening room. Everything’s not okay.

That night, the sound of chains and ropes cranking unknown bodies up and down. The bed facing the elevator and you can’t decide which way to lie in it. Head down, head up – you’re always vulnerable.

There’s a crack in the dark paneled elevator doors. Something not adjusted quite right. As the elevator passes, light flickers and dances across the sheets in odd random beats.

So you lie on the floor.

The ceiling starts to crawl. Gargoyles erupt from the molding.

Open your eyes. See burned fingers pry the elevator doors apart. A woman. Blisters on her lips, a narrow thread of blood across her cheek. Her eyes fall into her head like sinkholes.

Looking into them, you see chains, going down forever.

Jonnie finds you, in the morning, curled around yourself as if to protect a child, and he takes you in his arms. He rocks you back and forth, touches your cheek.

And he leaves you, just one more time.


6 thoughts on “Crack (2)

  1. I’ve never smoked the stuff, darling, but I’ve been around people who have free-based and the frantic, paranoid mania you describe seems like you’re describing a bad drug experience — or did I miss something? The writing is fascinating, if I do feel a bit lost on the subject matter — though I did try, darling.

  2. I really like this piece. I have a weird appreciation for slices of life and odd pieces that can be interpreted in different way though, I must admit.
    I hardly ever like a second person piece, but this is good. You used the pronoun sparingly enough that it doesn’t drive me crazy.
    The second and the third sentence seem to contradict each other, and I find that more interesting than disturbing, really. I like the partial sentences, like “One of those…” They work well here.
    I would end the fourth paragraph at “leaves” because it reads stronger that way.
    I’d also adjust to “milk and three” instead of using the comma. It doesn’t read as smoothly as it could as it is now, I think.
    The voices through the wall… Are those two sentences from two different voices? Them being on the same line makes me unsure.
    How did Jonnie come back unnoticed?
    In the “Open your eyes” paragraph, I’d change the hyphens to period. Short, halting, and strong.
    Good work. Very intriguing.

    • Thanks for your very welcome critique! Much appreciated. I think it’s very interesting that you pick out precisely the issues that I pondered over while editing. I was experimenting with a 2nd person voice. It’s hard! I agree with you that the constant repetition of “you” tends to grate, so I tried to avoid it. How does Jonnie come back unnoticed? I wanted this to be a surprise to the main character and the reader, as if he/she was starting to get involved in his/her increasing feelings of paranoia and panic and not noticing things around him/her. Seems like that might not have worked too well though. Good to know. Thanks again. BTW “Krazy Glue Sandwich” was a very fresh, entertaining read.

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