This week we bring you two pieces of flash fiction: “Method Acting,” by Jeremy Osbern, and “The First Time,” by Alice Lowe. Scroll down to read both.
by Jeremy Osbern
It was just the three of us in that small room, waiting to block the day’s first scene.
Oscar-winning actress started, “So, Guy From Platoon, how do you like to do your drugs?”
His voice was monotone.
“I just like to do ’em evenly. Space them out.”
“Really?” she shouted. “I like to do my uppers all at once and then add the downers to even it out. And then I do the uppers all at once again all over again.”
Guy From Platoon just shrugged.
“The First Time”
by Alice Lowe
New Year’s Eve. I was 13, maybe 14. My parents were going out but would be home soon after midnight. Katty, a second or third cousin, came over to spend the night. She was my favorite companion in 1950s-style mischief, a year older, physically mature, streetwise. I was easily led, drawn outside my comfort zone in my eagerness to be liked and accepted.
We watched specials on TV, the ball dropping at Times Square. Katty suggested we have a drink to celebrate. My father was a heavy drinker, so my mother didn’t allow hard liquor in the house. A search of the kitchen turned up a bottle of Manischewitz concord grape—sweet, syrupy wine that my mother kept for Jewish holidays and to dose me in small amounts for menstrual cramps. I poured a couple of glasses; we toasted and sipped, neither of us admitting how cloying and medicinal it tasted.
“A drink always makes me want a cigarette,” Katty said.
“Oh yeah, me too,” I replied.
“I was going to quit for New Year’s,” she said, “so it would be nice to have one last smoke.”
I agreed, both to quitting and wanting to kiss off my “habit” with a few last fond puffs.
We found an open pack. Tareyton’s, I think, a long gone brand with the grammatically incorrect slogan, “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!” Or they may have been Raleighs, which came with coupons that my mother collected and redeemed for gifts.
I held a lit match to the end of the cigarette before figuring out that I had to suck on it for the paper and tobacco to ignite. I watched Katty inhale. Not wanting her to guess that this was my first, I drew in, just a little, and coughed, just a little. “I must be catching a cold,” I said; “my throat’s a little scratchy.” We fanned the room, disposed of the butts, and washed the glasses. At midnight we went outside to catch glimpses of the fireworks from the nearby fairgrounds, my rite of passage behind me.
About this week’s authors
Jeremy Osbern is a filmmaker and writer. His most recent film, COURTESAN, is premiering next week at the Slamdance Film Festival. You can view more at: http://www.jeremyosbern.com
Alice Lowe reads and writes about food and family, Virginia Woolf, and life. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Upstreet,Hippocampus, Tinge, Switchback, Prime Number, Phoebe, and Hobart. She was the 2013 national award winner at City Works Journal and winner of a 2011 essay contest at Writing It Real. A monograph, “Beyond the Icon: Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction” was published by Cecil Woolf Publishers in London. Alice lives in San Diego, California and blogs at www.aliceloweblogs.wordpress.com