Write What You Know, Part 4
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,480 words
Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The pack of cigarettes she’d bought that morning was crushed on the hotel desk and the other one she bought that afternoon, between the signing and the drinks sat beside it. Christie couldn’t take her eyes off of it as she paced the width of the room incessantly. She’d had a lot of martinis at the drinks thing after the book signing and at least three glasses of wine at the dinner after, not to mention the previously mentioned two packs of cigarettes, but she still couldn’t get the hum of people out of her head.
What do you say to people who call your writing trashy? Who say Nikki is just as gratuitously violent and vulgar as something like Grand Theft Auto or a bad action film? That your book is dangerous wish fulfillment fantasy?
Why does Nikki keep going back to Bronx? How come she let Fontana go, she’s killed more people since who’ve done way less? Please say that Danny is just in hiding and he’ll be coming back for their eternal love! Nikki is so slutty, how am I suppose to let my daughter read this.
She could use another 40 cigarettes. Maybe twice that many and a bottle of wine. Better yet a bottle of rye.
Or even better opium.
Nikki’s was the last voice she wanted added to the din in her over populated head.
Admittedly difficult to find in this day and age. Heroin is a good substitute though, as you know. But I do miss those dark opium rooms and lovely deep pillows.
“Shut up!” Christie kicked a mini fridge for emphasis.
Nikki retreated like a kicked rat while the other voices continued unabated in an overwhelming hum. The noise canceling headphones glowed white in the half darkness mocking her. They could cancel out the noise of a bustling airport like it was just whispers in a church but wouldn’t do jack shit right now.
She stopped pacing and retreated to the bedroom, shutting the door just as she had that morning. All she needed was
A good night’s sleep.
Nikki laughed with blackish delight.
Before Justine rolled up the tinted window of the town car that had ushered them around the city that day, she made sure three or four times to confirm that Christie understood she had two engagements tomorrow. Justine would collect at 8am like she was a child who couldn’t button her own coat. The whole time she was patronizing her, Christie kept imagining Nikki scratching out Justine’s eyeballs but she got the message. They would leave at 8 am so for breakfast and a shower Christie would have to wake up at six. So if she went to bedd now she could get a full six hours before she had to get up. Not too impressive but a good deal greater than the ten minutes she got yesterday, or this morning and way more than the none she got the several nights before.
She rushed to the vanity as if she had move quickly before the voices (Nikki) realized what she was doing but really before her reason and sanity could catch up to her and make a note of how manic she was acting. She fumbled with the bottle’s child proof cap and poured out five capsules into the palm of her left hand.
She wasn’t fast enough and Nikki was already laughing at her but Christie continued, tossing all five sleeping pills into the back her mouth while using her other hand to turn on the faucet and pour a handful of water back there. She nearly choked on the huge gulp but got them all down. Nikki didn’t speak but kept laughing in the back of her mind.
“Fuck you” Christie said into the mirror with a vehemence she’d never heard in her voice before.
She changed clothes and got under the covers like if she kept moving frantically enough she’d get ahead of all the crowd noise in her ears, leaving them behind, chase them away to haunt someone else. She turned out the light and pulled the blankets over her head. She tried to close her eyes but they kept popping open though opened or closed didn’t make much difference as it was the blackest black down there with her where she waited. Waited with her eyes open so she could see sleep coming, grabbing his slippery ass, and shackling him to her tonight. Come hell or high water she would capture sleep tonight.
When she peeked at the clock, she couldn’t believe it’d been over an hour and double the dose of those pills and she was just as wide awake as she was an hour ago and no where closer to being left alone.
She teetered between laughing and crying, either one of those options being hysterical and maniacal in equal measure, so it probably didn’t matter which she chose. If she was even the one who had the choice.
She poked her head out of the covers. The air of the room was cool and fresh but not soothing or sanity bringing. It wasn’t as dark out here. There was a smoke detector with a blinking green light, a fire alarm with a steady white light, and the neon light screens of Time Square was peeking from around the edges of the blackout curtains. The light compared to that of beneath the covers, looked like the beginnings of dawn. She could make out the shapes of the door handle and the vanity counter. And something else moving near the foot of the bed.
She sat up in bed like a shot and stared down there like she’d never stared at anything else before. There was a tv and dresser straight in front her and to her left another night stand and lamp and a little bit of floor space. She could see it all clearly even with the small amount of light in the room. Her eyes were wide scouring and searching and listening as hard as she could over the hum in her ears. There was nothing there. The certainly wasn’t a lanky, vampire with hot pink hair. She jumped in fright when the air conditioner clicked on with a loud machinery grind.
The bright green clock numbers cast a sickly light of their own and informed her only 2 minutes had passed even though it felt longer. A lot longer. Like a slow honey drip on cold morning which reminded her something though she couldn’t remember what.
She thought she saw something again. A glint of light reflecting off of a pair of cat eyes. This time she didn’t look around. She wasn’t going to keep playing games with Nikki or her imagination, which if she was being sensible she’d notice were the same things, and maybe a part of her did, but she didn’t feel sensible. Hadn’t felt sensible since leaving Dulles, however long ago that was. She was unhinged. More than unhinged. She was on a jet, flying past all the cliched levels of crazy and into new territories she didn’t have time to name as they sped past. Or maybe she could have named them if she could just get everyone to shut the fuck up.
She took the pillow beneath her head and turned onto her back. The blinking smoke detector blinked and blinked like everything was in tip top shape, well oiled and running smoothly. She didn’t have the heart or tongue to tell it everything and every one, including it was shit fucked sideways. Christie placed the pillow over her face, closing her eyes, forcing them closed with the pillow, so it was night again and she didn’t have to keep looking at the blinking detector. She clenched both hands into fists and rested her forearms on the outer edges of the pillow forcing its feathered softness and weight against her ears. The sound of the city, cars and people fifty feet below, became muffled. She couldn’t hear the air conditioner any more. She pressed harder and the remnants of today’s voices faded. Slowly at first. But the gradual reduction felt like a boulder was removed from her chest. She struggled for a deep breath and sunk into the darkness and quiet as she exhaled. By the time the voices were at 50% of their normal volume it suddenly felt like the sleeping pills were actually absorbed from her stomach at last and working quickly. The blinding lightlessness became impossibly more cimmerian and the voices and sounds of the outside world were completely gone. A sort of dizzying heavy weightlessness took over and like she was being lifted up and pulled down at the same time. The gloriousness of sleep was finally, finally here for her. He was all around her, cloaking her, taking her with him.
I don't think so.
I don't think so.
Keep Reading with Part 5.
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