Home > A Nightclub of Naughty VOICES > Breaktime – by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Breaktime – by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Damn. I didn’t think the crash would come so fast. I grip the sink, wait for the bathroom to clear but the door keeps opening. Men stand three deep before the urinals and I gag from the smell of ammonia melding with lemon disinfectant. Nausea pulses, a wave of jittering gray.

No time to wait for a stall to empty, seminar starts in ten minutes. I hurry out. Pale light fills the hospital atrium. Two kids toss coins in the fountain, each penny dropping with a melodious ping. Making wishes no doubt: help daddy get better, let mommy bring home a baby brother, fix Grammy’s broken heart. If I had time and money to waste, what would I wish for?

Rubber soles squeak on linoleum. Bette from ICU calls my name, snaps me from my daze. She waves, a tight curl of her hand. The smile plastering my face feels lopsided, too large. I walk carefully but no one else seems to mind the wavering floor.

I pause before the Chapel, look both ways before pushing the wooden door. The hospital roar fades, replaced by airless silence. A woman kneels before Mary and Jesus, blond hair tumbling down her back. For a moment I swear it’s Phoebe, but it’s not, it can’t be, Phoebe’s prepping anesthesia. I should be with her, but I’m in no shape to thread IV lines into veins.

Out of habit I genuflect before collapsing into the pew. My fingers tremble in the white jacket pocket under the ‘Kevin Sullivan, MD’ embroidered in black over my heart for the fentanyl patch I fished from Mrs. O’s hazards box. The foil crinkles.

The lady’s head lifts. I freeze. Her red-rimmed eyes stare back at me. She doesn’t look like Phoebe at all; fake blond, sucked-in cheeks from too many face lifts. A lot of women look like this in Baltimore, the rich ones. I know their sort too well. My lips quiver into a smile. She turns back to the altar.

Say a prayer for me, baby – I need all the help I can get.

My thumbnail scrapes the patch. Three drops, shiny and viscous, ooze into my palm like liquid crystals. Remorse pricks me, and disgust I’ve come to this again. Today is the last time, I swear, but I greedily lick my hand. The alcohol taste turns sweet. Calm gilds my mouth and throat, spreads to my chest, my fingers, my world, and I forget. The door opens, the blonde mourner floats from the room. I surrender to the velvet-lined bench.

Nothing else is more pure.

  1. June 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    this is brilliant. a flash that mesmerizes. I love a short that begins and lets us write the next chapter in a curious sleep on unyielding modern furniture bolted to the floor. well done. C

  2. drwasy
    June 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for reading C! This is an excerpt from a novel in progress, and I am having so much fun with this character. Peace…

  3. June 8, 2010 at 12:52 am

    such a vivid moment here! so well told, this character is alive and gripping in that “airless silence”. Want to know where she goes after breaktime… hope to find out in your novel!

  4. June 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks Michelle! Things get grittier for my dear Kevin, this is for sure. Thank you for reading. peace…

  5. deepee10
    June 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Everything comes to life and into focus and begs for more unfolding.

  6. wbjorkman
    June 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Wow, desriptive as can be, economical too – and I love the chapel being Kevin’s sanctuary from whatever pyschic/physical pain he is avoiding, the scratching evoking the blood of the sacrament. I don’t know what you have in store for Kevin, but I’ll be watching – the reading vanishes, the scene unfolds visually.

  7. June 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Hey DP and Walter – Thanks for reading! Oh, I do so adore this character, he is not the MC in my novel but threatens to steal the thunder. He’s an example of what happens when you succumb to your true desires. Peace…

  8. June 30, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Hi Linda. Just read your bio and very interested in your book about women and porn. I myself write about women, prostitution, sex and sexuality and I have enjoyed a very pleasantly surprising few years in the industry myself! Would love to keep in touch. Jx

  9. drwasy
    July 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Hey Jodine, Thanks for reading and commenting. My second novel deals a lot with sex as a vehicle of intimacy, but actually doesn’t deal with porn (though I did blog recently about controversy which arose over an explicit novel excerpt I posted). I find your poems and fiction compelling and direct, and applaud your ability to write so well about ‘tabu’ topics. Happy to stay in touch, and happy to follow your writing. Peace…

  10. August 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Love your writing!

  1. June 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

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