Somebody Should Try To Reach Everybody by Michael Webb

She could always tell the new ones – their jackets hadn’t been thrown up on. They were too ready to believe that they would be the ones to get her to stop, they would be the ones to fix her. She was disdainful of them – others had tried and failed – but she felt a tiny spot of regret, too. They were trying. Somebody should try to reach everybody.

This one, a freshly minted graduate, was feeding the baby while she asked her questions. She had been through this before, but she didn’t let on, wanting the girl to feel useful. She was giving the answers they expected, wanting her gone. He said he was going to be here this afternoon, and she had given him money. She wanted her to leave.

She shut her binder, fixing her with a fresh, clean gaze. “What does it feel like?” she asked.

“What?” she asked her. This was off script, she thought.

“To use. What’s it like?”

“It’s hard to explain,” she said. It wasn’t like you saw things that weren’t there- you didn’t float away into the clouds. Everything was the same- the baby still had to be changed, the carpet was still filthy, there were still stains on her sweatpants. Cruel men still came around, demanding that she pay them with money, or with something else. But after you got some, and you used, and it hit, for a minute, you just didn’t care.

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11 Comments

Filed under Michael Webb

11 responses to “Somebody Should Try To Reach Everybody by Michael Webb

  1. I wouldn’t have thought of this take on the theme, but it’s extremely well done and fitting.

  2. Randal Houle

    Great take on the theme.

  3. Nice insight into a way of life for unfortunately too many people.

  4. A sad but compassionate portrait.

  5. Len

    i thought this was fantastic, from the opening line to the final few. bravo.

  6. An interesting take on “floating away.” Well done.

  7. A great way to illustrate this theme for the week. I have one small suggestion, and possibly my own tweak: the pronoun “she” is used liberally in this vignette. I wonder if just giving the protagonist a name might help slightly. Unless, of course, you wanted there to be little difference between the two main characters?

  8. Kim Hutchinson

    A bravely honest portrait, and a great take on the theme.

  9. subtle prose and vivid characterization…nice one! enjoyed this a lot.

  10. Unique take on the theme, and a great way to get at the abuse behaviors of people hiding their use. I got a little confused about who was talking, but on the second read got it straight. Great sad little slice of life. Peace…

  11. Pingback: Week #34 – Floating away | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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