Jesse Jarnow

dead bird, no. 8

(Being an attempt to write short fiction in even shorter increments…)

dead bird, no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11

As soon as Monica left, I washed the blood from my knuckle. Then I turned on the radio and rolled a joint. Whenever we separated, I felt a change in consciousness, a portion of my thoughts returning to a private domain. Ray Charles was on. I nodded gently with the music as I smoked.

I’d started getting high a year before I left home. It was summertime. My mother decided that I was the one to attend college in the city the following autumn; Monica would remain at home and run the store. I spent most of my time at Billy Tiernan’s, listening to his stepfather’s record collection, playing backgammon, and getting stoned.

One night, we all went to the lake. Monica and her friends, too. Billy and I had smoked a joint in his truck. Monica didn’t like pot. As we plunged towards the water, through the woods and between sheets of fireflies, I instinctively looked for her in the dark ahead of me. She was gone, then. From me, I mean.