Scavenging – Fiction for The Speakeasy

“You know, I don’t even remember his name – and I’m okay with that.”

Something in my coffee was suddenly very interesting as I avoided her eyes. I’d been sharing an apartment with Jackie for a little less than two months, but already I could see she had an unhealthy love for what she saw as the “New York City Lifestyle” – developed with precision while watching too many episodes of Sex and the City. Jackie had grown up in Brooklyn (No, not Park Slope.), so the stereotype of “midwestern girl gone wild” didn’t apply. She’d told me once that she wanted to “be the fire, not the coal.” Whatever that means.

I couldn’t care less how many nameless bodies she smushed up against. (Yes, she called sex “smushing.”) It wasn’t my business, and since she didn’t bring these guys to our apartment, it wasn’t an inconvenience. What did bother me was that I knew this character she was playing was fake. I knew that Jackie wasn’t okay with any of that. For some reason, she wanted me to be shocked, but very little shocks me anymore. For some reason, because I was holding down a job that had me up and out of the apartment by 6 am, she thought I was mild-mannered and innocent. Funny.

Or maybe it was because I wasn’t from The City. Jackie did hang onto that “Oh, you must be from Ohio” attitude that so many native New Yorkers ooze. I’m not from Ohio, but if I were, I still wouldn’t be shocked. There are women who smush up against nameless bodies all over the place.

“So anyway, he works at that bar on Avenue B we went to a couple of weeks ago. Remember?” She stuck her head out like a turtle, widening her eyes, trying to get me to look at her. I raised my head to focus on the wall behind her head. I pursed my lips, as if I were trying to remember.

I stirred my coffee. “Right. With the watery sangria. Boxcar.” I remembered friendly bartenders and sticky floors from the time we’d stopped in after a Sunday brunch across the street.

“Yes! Well, let’s just say we can’t go back there again.” Jackie’s hand came down with a thud on the counter, and her laugh sounded like a wheezing hyena unable to decide whether scavenging was her destiny or her curse.

For the first time, I was glad that Jackie had insisted the lease stay in her name only. Sipping my coffee, I knew I’d be spending the afternoon starting the search for a cheap studio apartment on a high floor, with a window facing west.

About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. Do The Most Good.
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14 Responses to Scavenging – Fiction for The Speakeasy

  1. christina says:

    i love the use of the photo prompt in this piece. 🙂

  2. I love your writing. I sat down after putting the boys to bed, intent on just checking my email when I saw your quick story and devoured it.

  3. Gem says:

    Even though this is fiction, you described my college roommate lol

  4. Loved it! Awesome job. I hope for a Speakeasy post tomorrow but haven’t even started yet – yikes!

  5. iasoupmama says:

    Oh, I’ve met both of these women. OK, I was the narrator, definitely NOT the S-to-the-L-to-the-U-to-the-T. I love how casual the horny one is about her life and how casual the narrator is about her roommate’s casual-ness.

  6. Gina says:

    I love your use of the picture! I’ve been that roommate disgusted by behavior while not being naive at all or a prude, which I am not. I know that woman well from living in the City (Chicago) in the 80s. The casualness of it all rang so true for me here. I’d be the one looking through the classifieds too. Great story which didn’t sound fictitious at all.

  7. LOVE it! such a great twist and such realistic characters. ones we’ve all known or been at one time or the other. fantastic.

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