Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Alone with the Clouds

Rita lies in her bed and blows clouds of smoke toward the ceiling. Everybody fucking has somebody. Getting married. Making babies. Today her co-worker she used to screw, or rather, she imagines she used to screw, announced in a mass email to the clinic that he and his girlfriend are expecting. “Ho, ho, ho,” the subject line read. What a fucking Christmas surprise. She was stupid to think he would even be slightly interested in her. Not when Hallie owns five guns, loves to hunt. And she’s white.

Nothing racial, just preference, they always tell Rita. But she’s a racist for preferring white men. She’s repeatedly accused of hating herself.

She takes another long drag on the cigarette. This isn’t what she wants. Cigarettes don’t do it for her. She wants to inhale, hold it in, rise with the clouds, turn over to see herself, still, hovering just above the mattress, the sheets outlining her body underneath, her eyes hanging low, faded, gone.

Fuck Renee and her incessant need to make everybody better people. “When we were kids, we wanted to be on Santa’s nice list,” Renee said. “But as adults, everyone should desire to be on the Lamb’s list.” She’s got Bryan talking like a fucking uptight preacher’s kid. She made Rita fast weed. Shit. She misses being high. She needs it. The kiss of the blunt turning her lips numb. Feeling inflated. Never wanting to come down unless it’s on top of a man rising.

Shit.

She should’ve picked alcohol. Booze only makes her horny. No point in being horny when she’s alone in her bed with only her fingers. Sometimes they get the job done, sometimes she needs to feel the full circumference of a man’s dick.

A white man. Because that’s what she prefers.

Although her weed man is black. And sometimes he stays, when the loud isn’t enough, when she comes down too soon and needs to follow it with a shot of Henny, and he helps her finish the bottle, then finishes her.

Maybe she does hate herself. Maybe God does too. Maybe He’s sick of seeing her in church on Sunday, knowing where she was the night before, where she’ll be after the congregation’s dismissed, knowing she’ll slip out before the altar call.

“You’re wrong,” Renee always says. “He’s waiting for you to come to Him. A Father doesn’t turn His back on His children.”

And maybe she has a point, because sometimes Rita can feel Him tugging at her heart, making it skip a beat, not like a man. With a man, the skip is almost like a pinch at the bottom corner, just above the ribcage, like she’s going into cardiac arrest. With God, it’s a flutter, like butterflies in her stomach, not like shuffling in her bowels.

But if a father doesn’t abandon his children, where the fuck is hers? Why hasn’t she seen him since she was eleven, when he folded eleven dollar bills into her palm for her birthday, as the three-month belated gift.

No. She won’t go into that suck fest. She won’t accept her dad as the root of her problems. She won’t be that girl with daddy issues, who seeks approval in the arms of a deadbeat nigga like her father.

No. She just likes to be high. Wants to get high. Needs to feel high . . .

Shit. Where the fuck is Renee?

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Time to Decorate the Tree
Next: Distractions

Stay-At-Home Mom

His phone went straight to voicemail—again. She cooled herself. An angry message would only prolong his absence.

“Honey, you promised you’d be home by seven.” The digital clock over the stove displayed 9:32.

“I know your job’s important.” She wouldn’t think about the temp. The one with the blond pixie cut. The one who wore the baby doll dress with the plunging neckline to the office picnic.

“I made your favorite—It’s getting cold.” The contempt rose in her voice. She had to hang up.

She wished she’d finished school before the baby. Tonight, her only company was wasted lasagna.

word count: 100

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. Today’s moral: treat others the way you want to be treated.

Warning Signs of a Deadbeat

The last time everything fit in three duffles, Mack was moving in. We’d only been dating a few weeks. A little fast for my taste—I didn’t even know his middle name—but he’d just been evicted, and he needed a place to stay.

“That’s code for ‘my last girlfriend dumped me,’ ” my friend Roxy warned. “Those types of guys either live with their moms or their girlfriends.” She went on to lament that Plenty of Fish was the wrong website to find love. The men there were always begging for money.

But he was so incredibly attractive, and I didn’t mind spending $100 a week on groceries in the beginning, or that he was still between jobs after living with me for six months. I’d convinced myself that in this economy, it was tough to find employment that didn’t pay a measly $7 an hour for workers to break their backs over ungrateful customers.

When you’re terrified of being alone, you tend to ignore the warning signs of a deadbeat.

That was until I found Roxy’s thong in his laundry, and I tossed all he ever brought into our relationship in three duffle bags over the balcony and into the street.

word count: 191

—Nortina


ffpp1-28Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is a weekly challenge for writers to create a story in under 200 words using the provided photo prompt and introductory sentence as their ‘muse.’ Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo and add your own.

Morning Dive

When we were kids, they told us never to go swimming during a thunderstorm. The lightning could strike the water, fry our little bodies and stop our hearts. But what were the odds, right?

Russell is drunk again. He walked into our one-bedroom apartment at eight this morning, trailing a 40 behind him, wet hair clinging to his forehead. “The water’s swarm,” he slurred.

I didn’t mention that I had to walk the kids seven blocks to school because he took the car, that my checkbook was missing, that Breen’s cleats for football would cost $160—$160 we don’t have; $160 Russell manages to find for beer and online poker.

“I’ll take a dive,” I told him.

The water is freezing. Silly me for believing a man whose blood boils in alcohol. The waves sweep around my feet as I squat and splash my face, the salt from the ocean burning my eyes. Better to be blind than to watch Russell mold our son into his likeness.

Rumbles of thunder approach from behind. Better to be struck by lightning.

word count: 175

—Nortina


photo-20160118105818411Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 75-175 using the provided photo prompt as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo and add your own.