Flash Fiction Contest: The Cocktail is Your Title

Posted: June 17, 2014 in Fiction, Flash Fiction Challenge

A short one (clocking in at just under 500 words) for this week’s FFC, which involved a d20 roll and using a random cocktail name as the title. I came up with “Rusty Nail”:

Cara stirred her drink with the tiny, plastic straw and sighed heavily.

It was another Saturday night, she was once again in the basement of one of the local, Lawrenceville bars for their Goth night, and she was alone. The same music playing, the same people dancing, the same men and women gathering in cliques and mingling and flirting, like they’d all done a thousand times before. She’d been coming to these nights for years now, hell, she’d dated some of the guys here or, at the very least, gone home with them. They all had their own drama, their own insecurities, their own petty gossips. It was at the point now that even if she hadn’t had some kind of liaison with one of the guys here, she’d heard enough about them from others ahead of time to know that she probably didn’t want to venture into those waters.

So why was she even here?

Cara took a sip of her Rusty Nail and her gaze drifted out to the dance floor, watching the dancers. She had the vague impulse to dance, but it was more of an internally-generated external pressure. Others were dancing, she was in a nightclub, she should go dance. But Cara didn’t feel the personal desire to do so. Besides, she wasn’t drunk enough yet to not feel like a complete idiot doing so. She took another sip, noticing that the bartender had put a bit more whisky than Drambuie into the cocktail.

She smiled and nodded to a couple that she knew, exchanging some pleasantries that were barely audible over the pounding industrial music. As they continued on, she finished off her cocktail and stirred the leftover ice absently. Cara was here because it was familiar, it was safe, it was a known quantity. Sure, that familiarity had grown into staleness, but there was a part of her that was afraid of branching out, of taking the risk of going somewhere and, at the very least, wasting her evening in a fruitless search.

She glanced toward the bar, eyeing the line of men and women that she had spent countless Saturday nights with and shrugged. “Of course, this is pretty fruitless, too,” she mumbled inaudibly.

Her gaze fell upon one of the elders of the scene, a woman on the far end of middle age, all done up and obviously hitting on a young man who was young enough to be her son. Cara felt her stomach drop out. Was that what lay ahead of her? Desperation, not quiet but screechingly loud and painfully obvious? She shivered despite the warmth of the room and looked away. She stirred the ice one more time, then nodded to herself. Standing, Cara grabbed her clutch from the table and weaved her way to the door, her heart fluttering in her chest at the thought of the great unknown ahead of her, but more than happy to flee the slow, desiccating death that loomed and lurked behind her.

 

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