Sunday, March 15, 2015

Flash Fiction: Chicago Fizz - Terribleminds Flashfiction Challenge

Another week another Flash Fiction challenge from Terribleminds head guru, Chuck Wendig. This week's prompt? A random generated cocktail drink whose name serves as the title of your piece. Not sure if this gives bonus points or not, but I used the drink itself in my post and the purpose of the drink inspired the piece itself.

That said, not sure how much of a story this is. Also, this is - at present - an unedited rough draft. I'm using these to practice creation more than editing, but I'll try to come back and clean it up later on if I can. Click the link above to see the challenge, and maybe make your own entry?

Chicago Fizz
The hangovers were always the worst. It was always the same. Lou wanted to get a drink at the tail end of a double, and Alice went with him every time. She didn’t see much choice in it. She could either go, or she could let her partner go and get hammered alone. That’d make him a drunk and the drinking a problem. Alice didn’t have it in her to do that to him. Still, that didn’t make the pounding in her head any easier to deal with the morning after.

“Another rough night at the office?” Omar, her husband, asked.

His voice had a deep tenor that hammered at Alice’s skull. She turned over on the bed, curling her pillow so it wrapped around her head in an attempt to block him out. The mattress dipped as Omar sat next to her. He wasn’t going to leave her alone.

“I thought we talked about this and agreed you weren’t going to hit the bars so hard after?” Omar asked. His voice only held mild accusation right now. No doubt he was saving the full force for later on.

“Who says I was at the bar?” Alice asked. “Maybe I’m just having a rough morning.”

“Your gun is sitting on the dresser, unclipped in its holster, and you’re lying to me. Sounds like the morning after a trip to the bar to me,” Omar said.

Alice pulled the pillow off her head, shoving it aside as she sat up to look at Omar. The light pouring in through the window blinds was sharp. It added to the pain in her head, piercing just behind her eye like a hot knife.

“That’s how you’re going to start the day? Calling me a fucking liar?” Alice asked. She bit off the end of each word with a harsh snap.

“Only because it’s true,” Omar said.

“I asked a question,” Alice said.

“Don’t pull that semantic bullshit with me, Alice,” Omar said. His voice raised loud enough to cause pain to Alice’s hungover brain. “This isn’t a fucking game you get to win on a technicality!”

Alice hesitated. She bit down on her lip to keep more words from spilling out. Omar was pissed. Her guts flopped over in her stomach with a suddenness that her hand was over her mouth before she could stop the motion.

“What, going to play the sick card now?” Omar asked.

“Just leave me alone,” Alice said. She pushed past him and climbed off the bed before heading for the bathroom. She didn’t let her guard down until the door was closed and locked behind her.

Her stomach turned again. Alice dropped to her knees and retched into the toilet. It tasted foul, like rotten eggs and spoiled vegetables. The smell made her retch again, and then once more just to ensure her stomach was empty.

“You ok in there?” Omar asked. Some of the rage was gone from his voice, concern replacing it.

“I’m fine!” Alice pressed her head against the cool porcelain. Her hand fumbled with the lever on the toilet until she managed to make it flush and take her bile away. Cool toilet water splashed on her neck and collar bone. She couldn’t bring herself to care.

“Fine. I have to get to work. We’re going to talk about this later though,” Omar said. His footsteps retreated from the bathroom door to the hallway as he crossed the floor. “Oh, and you forgot your phone on the kitchen table. Be sure to call Emily back, whoever the hell that is.”

Alice gave Omar five minutes to clear out of the apartment before she uncoiled from the toilet. She stared at herself in the mirror. She looked pale, even with the dark tone of her skin. Deep bags sat beneath her eyes. No wonder Omar was pissed. She looked more like a down on her luck street walker than a married woman. All she needed was the track marks to complete the look.

A quick, scalding shower and vigorous teeth brushing made her feel a little more human. She changed into her work clothes, pulling on a pair of slacks and an athletics bra before donning her bulletproof vest and the rest of her outfit. Her badge and gun were where Omar had said. Alice frowned as she belted them on. She had a small safe for the weapon in her dresser. She needed to start using it.

In the kitchen, her phone alarm chirped warning that she was going to be late for work. She tried to ignore it, but each high pitched pulse tore through her brain like a terrified ferret trying to escape a cardboard tube.

Alice made her way down the hall. She killed her phone’s alarm with a press of the button. A text message showed on the lockscreen. “This is Emily, call me sometime, huh?” the message said. Alice frowned. Memories of the thin white girl with pink hair and nowhere near enough clothes on for January flashed through her mind. She touched her lips remembering the flavor of Emily’s chapstick, and the warmth of her abdomen as it pressed against her while they danced.

Guilt and pleasure warred in Alice’s mind until she banished them both and the cause from her head. Omar deserved better, but that wasn’t a problem she could solve right now. Her headache on the other hand was.

Alice rifled through the cabinets, pulling down a bottle of dark rum and some port. She added some lemon juice and a carton of egg whites to her supplies from the fridge before capping it off with some fine sugar. Once mixed, the drink filled a slender glass. The liquid at the bottom was a dark blood red but it faded to a creamy off white as it neared the top. Alice licked over her lips once, then downed the drink in one go.

She closed her eyes and felt the liquid go down. The throbbing in her head eased, and with it went the worry from her morning argument with Omar. Alice smiled, savoring the brief moment of peace.

Chicago Fizz was the only way to start the day.

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