Flumes Vol. 5: Issue 1, Summer 2020 - Page 79

his mind about those attorney’s fees. Jamie laughed—harder than she had in so long. It wasn’t funny. But there was nothing left to do but laugh.

The spaces between the streetlights grew longer and longer. Buildings turned into subdivisions and then into nothing. Lines on the side of the highway sped past her in a rhythm that matched the pounding in her temples, and as the headlights reflected off the asphalt into the darkness of the night, she pulled over. The neck of the whiskey bottle stuck up out of the top of her purse. In the silence and the darkness, away from the beat and the neon and the shouting, fragments of thoughts took form. What had she done?

Her purse buzzed again. It had to be Savana. The club would just leave a message, firing her. Perhaps they already did. Jamie grabbed the neck of the bottle and got out of the car. The calls, the messages, the regrets could wait. Each of the city lights glittered in the night like one. It looked so small from so far away. Jamie lifted the bottle to her nose. The fumes, so familiar burned her nostrils. She knew how that burn would feel, sliding down her throat and back up to her brain. Maybe the cops would come. Would they come directly to her? Was the device like a GPS? Did they wait for moments like this?

The view of the city distorted in the bottle glass and turned dark amber in the liquid. It looked like piss after a night of drinking. So many people lived in such a condensed area. Al was somewhere in there. And Savana. And the man she had just threatened. Everyone she alienated navigated the congestion somewhere in that shining, mess of lights, living their lives, just trying their best. She ruined it.

Jamie tipped the bottle against her lips. The whiskey slid through the glass horizon when something cut across the pale, amber light. A flashing—not from the city but the ground below, reflected feebly in the bottle. She looked down. She still had on her heels and the skirts tied around them. In the dark, the little green light on the monitor bled through the fabric. Jamie watched. It blinked like a tiny, steady heartbeat. It was still green. It hadn't turned red. How could the one piece of her life that caused so much trouble survive all of her damage? She looked back into the bottle and thought of Al again, and of her choices. Everything was a choice. Even this.

Jamie set the bottle down on the ground and got back in the car. The bottle would still be there, waiting for her just feet away if she needed it--if this didn't work. She fumbled through her purse for a small slip of thick paper at the bottom. Her phone brightened as she swiped away the missed calls. She'd call them back, but not yet. The handwriting on the card looked twisted and shaken, but she dialed and put the phone to her ear.

A man answered. “Hello?”

“Is this Leon?”