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Short story: <i>Runaway</i>



The phone rings.

I pretend I haven’t heard it but it just keeps on ringing in brash obnoxious tones and I think maybe it’s mocking me, so I pick up my half finished bottle of something cheap and nasty and shatter it all over the receiver.

If the damn thing wasn’t so cheap it sure as hell would’ve stopped ringing right away, but it just kept on chirping away so I picked it up and licked the glass and whiskey off the handset - seemed a shame to waste it that way.

Didn’t speak into the phone, that’s revealing too damn much if you ask me. Just licked it a bit more and then cradled it on my shoulder like a bony plastic cat.

And she was saying hello, hello? Mike? Hello? She’s sounding real ragged, like she’s been running, like she’s scared, like she’s round the other side of the world and just really, really wants someone to take an interest and say hello back. Makes me want a drink.

I grind some glass under my shoes onto the plush purple carpet and pull slivers of it out of my hand. Glass becomes powder and whisky becomes piss at my command, I’m like a god in these parts.

I grab at the neck of a fresh bottle and throttle it ’til it screams for mercy. The phone sits dripping at me reproachfully, so I pick up the handset and beat it on the dresser. Damn thing still won’t break and just keeps saying Mike? Mike? What are you doing, Mike? What’s happening? I need to talk to you Mike! I don’t want to help anyone so I hang up the phone and imagine her on a plane, on a bus, in a boat, dragging herself around the different countries and climates, hot air buzzing at her skirt and sticking her blouse to her back and griming up her hair. And the tears, and the hurt, and the sadness, and the need, and the arches of her feet and the soft pads of her fingertips.

The phone rings again.

I open the bottle for the next round, the next session, the next link in the chain of crazy phonecalls.

Mike? Hello? Mike?

Now it’s just getting repetitive. Wrong number sweetheart. I pull the phone out of the wall and dump it in the bath.

This is the result of a fifteen minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: ragged, throttle, plush, session, and climate.

Image courtesy of stephentrepreneur.

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