A Change in Fortune

I drive past the Poison Apple, a disco club on War Memorial Drive, and see Frieda Abraham making out with a woman six inches taller than her. The Apple is not a lesbian joint but it’s all dancing and drugs in there so no one pays attention to much else. I’ve never been inside because it’s too loud, but Butchie goes sometimes to buy MDA. He says it’s a terrible place to pick up girls because all they want to do is dance. But he’s terrible with women in general so I don’t think this is a fair assessment. 

When I see Frieda with the same woman a month later at a boat party, I say hello. Frieda is cool to me as usual, but the tall woman is friendly and gregarious. She is a med student doing her residency at the new hospital and says she’s never lived on a river before and likes it. I tell her she’ll get over it and she laughs, thinking I’m joking. Later in the evening she strips down and jumps in the water along with a half dozen other partiers. I make eye contact with Frieda and she just shrugs and says, “I’m a shit swimmer and there’s no way I’m getting in that soup.” 

The med student is elegant in the water: long beautiful strokes, blond hair streaming behind like a flag in the wind, toes breaching the surface at each kick like shy puppies in a box. When they find her body three days later, her eyes were gone, eaten by crayfish, and those toes were olive-colored raisins.

The parents shipped the body somewhere out west, and Frieda didn’t bother going for the memorial. “Just because you eat a pussy doesn’t mean you owe anything,” she spat after I asked. That she responded to me at all was the surprise. That she even recognized my existence was a departure. But at least this time I understood her fury. The tall girl was a catch, and Frieda probably thought her luck had changed.

J. W. Goll
J. W. Goll

J. W. Goll is a writer and artist whose stories and poems are informed by experiences as a photographer in Chicago, the Dakotas, and Central Europe. His sculpture and installation art has appeared at galleries in Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and elsewhere. He has recently published work in Mojave Heart, Tiny Molecules, Pure Slush, Hotel Amerika, and Quarter After Eight, among others. He is currently completing two flash fiction/prose poetry books, You Will Desire Me from Time to Time and Notes from the Impossible City.