Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Rowena handed me a clear liquid in a shot glass.
“Drink this,” she commanded.
I sniffed at it suspiciously.
“It just tastes like black licorice,” she said. “Drink up.”
I swallowed it quickly,
my face crumpling into a grimace.
My throat wanted to reject it immediately,
so I coughed into my napkin for a bit.
Ro rolled her eyes at me.
“So dramatic,” she said.
“I’ll get you another.”
I grabbed her arm, shaking my head.
“Just a beer, please,” I asked.
She headed to the bar,
vanishing in the crowd.
I don’t know what she had given me,
but the world grew fuzzier while she was away.
An 80s cover band was playing on the stage,
much too loudly,
and one middle-aged woman was dancing
on the floor in front of them.
She kept waving at her friend to join her,
and her friend shook her head with embarrassment,
and the woman kept dancing alone,
and someone was filming her on his phone.
The taste of black licorice was thick on my tongue,
and I hate black licorice.
Rowena returned with my beer
and spilled a little on my jeans as she set it on the table.
“Sorry,” she muttered.
I wished I were home then,
wrapped in my warm down comforter,
with the TV on all night,
repetitive chatter of infomercials invading my dreams.
I yawned, and Rowena playfully elbowed me.
“Don’t you dare go to sleep on me!
The night is young!”

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