Mental hijack

He holds my water bottle, and he unscrews the lid. I watch his every move. He is talking to me about herpes, and I see this blister looming on his lip. His mouth is dry and his thirst is urgent and it is my bottle. Why did he have to take my bottle? I specially made a separate one for him and he left it in the car. But we have walked miles, and we’re tired, we’re hungry. Above all we are thirsty. I’m saying to myself that I cannot drink from that bottle. And another thought stubbornly pops up like a spam window telling me that I should drink water, because I could feel a flu coming on. My throat was raw. Flu. Herpes. Flu. Herpes. Which one do you want? Drink water. No don’t. Drink water. And he starts drinking water. Out of my bottle. Don’t drink it, I said to myself. Drink it, or you’ll get dehydrated, said the spam window blinking in that irritating manic sort of way. And I want to frantically search the mouse in my mind to click that window closed. He is drinking water, my precious flu-preventing water. Water envy overcomes me. Oases hallucination. Don’t drink it. Don’t. Don’t! He gives me back my bottle. I want flu, I remind myself. I love my sore throat. I am holding my water bottle, and immediately he starts talking again, continuing his monologue where he had left off. He is still talking about herpes. I can’t bloody believe it! I start drinking the water. And I can’t fucking (!) believe I just did that.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

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9 thoughts on “Mental hijack

  1. Great internal monologue. Keep an eye on the tense, though – first phrase is in past and the rest is in present. Also the ending could be a touch tighter – I’d go for ‘I can’t bloody believe it! I drink the water. Shit.’ but that’s just a suggestion. Everything else about this was spot on. Amazing characterisation, I love the herpes vs flu thing and I can definitely empathise with her.

    Overall: nice.

  2. I am amazed by this short / flash fiction piece, for no other reason than when I started reading it and encountered the word ‘herpes’ I though “Oh no!”, but then realised this was a special internalised conversation, full of angst, that actually gives more than a passing nod to so many situations in life, not just drinking from the same bottle. It is about someone abusing your generous spirit; and you regretting it, with a vengeance! And no I wouldn’t change the language at the end; it shocked me, but then it was meant to; to convey, as it did, that utter exasperation at someone else’s unthinking, nay selfish, behaviour. Brave and well done, Q, well done!

    • Thank you, John, I appreciate your penetratingly accurate interpretation with great sincerity. Your line, “It is about someone abusing your generous spirit; and you regretting it, with a vengeance!” puts the core of my flash fiction piece succinctly. You are a brilliantly engaged reader. 🙂

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