Honorable Mention – Flash 405, August 2021: “House Party”
The circle of us screaming and churning like one thing with a hundred arms a hundred phones and in the center a knot of guys hunched over the salt lick licking posing wheeze-laughing dripping spit onto the carpet everything half-blurred by Jim Beam margarita mix Taco Bell the flashlights in whorls cheers over the music are you SERIOUS so fucking GROSS Nick had brought the lick in as a joke one of those blocks just like cows lick and jesus tonight we can’t stop laughing braying tongue to salt when suddenly the lights flip on. Booooooo we all shout and turn and there is a woman standing in the doorway short and sturdy like a garden gnome eyes wide furious. She marches through us like nothing our jeering petering out she goes right up to the lick and grabs a boy by the back of his neck saying Jacob Lee PATTON and then something we can’t hear over the thump thump bass, Jake opening into a moan but limp just getting dragged out the front like a kitten. Door slams behind them, all of us rigid as broomhandles, squinting in the lights, music pulsing, nobody with a fucking word. Imagine his mom closing the bedroom door on him, we’ll talk about this tomorrow, that sort of thing. His old room painted with something like spaceships or cowboys or maybe pine trees thick with branches, and there, a stream, you can just barely see it between the trunks. Jake drifting, the salt taste fading to nothing. A glass of water, clean sheets, a ceiling fan.
Hadley Griggs is an MFA candidate at Syracuse University and has been published in Hobart After Dark, CutBank, Bodega, and elsewhere. She runs elsewhere micro-press and an after-school creative writing program for local kids. She spends a lot of her free time at thrift stores.
Photo Credit: Logan Weaver