Short story offering #1 – “Too Much”

Something different for your Saturday.

I have said I do not lie. And I don’t lie. I will not lie. Not now, not ever. However, this will be as close to a certain truth as I am willing to get. Okay?

More after the story. Here it is.

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TOO MUCH

“I didn’t take cocaine,” Colleen was saying. “I was tempted to, but I didn’t take it. It’s nasty stuff. I know too many people who did it.” She shook her head sadly. “Nasty stuff.”

Colleen was a CD patient, meaning Chemically Dependent. She was going to be taken out of group shortly to be tested for drugs, specifically cocaine. No one listened to her, she said.

I did. Her voice was soft and like a little girl’s, but she was fearless. Even here, in group, she said everything felt right for her. She was healing, as was I. For all she’d been through, she thought the world was grand. I wish I had her attitude.

She drew the best pictures. Her latest work was my most favorite so far. Soft pastel chalk was arrayed in a psychedelic pattern around a pretty girl, dressed in black, crying over a wilted flower. It represented her anger, she said. “This is the sort of thing,” she told me when she showed me, “that gets you locked up.”

She was talking to a couple of boys about getting the drug test. I, as usual, was listening at her shoulder.

“Aren’t you afraid of the needles?” I asked her.

She half-smiled. “Nah. I’ve been okay with shots and stuff since I was little.” She shrugged and smiled brighter. “Does that surprise you?” The two boys nearby shook their heads passively.

“I’m like my dad,” I said. “I’m scared of needles. I don’t faint like he does, but I get really freaked out by them.”

“There’s nothing to it,” she reassured me.

I shrugged this time. “Well, look what happened to me when they drew my blood.”

I shook my sleeves up, held my arms in front of her face. There were my bruises, in all their glory. The one on my left elbow was the size of a half dollar; the one on my right was the full length of a newly sharpened pencil. Both were mottled blue and gray, and just this morning had started streaking with healing green and purple.

Colleen’s eyes nearly popped out of her head. She reached out as if to touch the bruises, but didn’t. “Ohmigod, what happened to you?!?”

I thought about telling her my whole story. Up until then, it had been very vague, even to me. My veins were too little. The needles were too big. My head hurt too much one morning. So I took too many pills.

I was too afraid to tell her.

I shrugged and said, “Too much.”

(C) by me, Mouse, sometime between January and May 2010

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Unfortunately, this is not the drawing I wrote about….

I actually wrote this for a ‘flash fiction’ creative writing class a couple years ago. ‘Flash fiction’ is just that – short fiction that can be read in a flash, as it were. I gather a story qualifies as ‘flash fiction’ if it is anywhere from 300 words or less to 1,000 words. Stop me if I’m wrong on that.

Upon my classmates reading this story, most of them jumped on me for using the word ‘take’ in connection with the cocaine; they said the correct word to use was, in fact, ‘use.’

Well, the reason I wrote it as ‘take’ instead of ‘use’ is because ‘take’ is the very word my friend Colleen used while we were talking.

Yes, everything in this story really happened. It is a true story.

Make of that what you will.

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