Fiction 440: Box of Shame

 Words: Boxed wine, shame, moist

“It’s a wine you won’t join me in my box of shame,” she slurred and then giggled. “Wait…I mean…what?”

I shook my head and rolled my eyes, shifting my weight as her toe caught a crack in the sidewalk and she lurched forward. “Well,” I shook the now almost empty boxed wine. It’s contents sloshed pathetically, echoing against the sides of the cardboard, “Not much left to enjoy…”

She hiccuped in response. I groaned a little as her body sagged heavily against mine. ‘120 pounds,’ my ass’ I mumbled remembering the glance I had gotten of her resume, ‘Maybe in her ass…” Luckily she was blissfully oblivious to my annoyance.

“It’s ok,” she hissed, patting my cheek with her crinkled hand, “I know you’ll take care of me.”

“Uh huh,” I said, glancing at my watch. Hers may have been over, but I had a career to begin in the morning. I stopped walking and lowered her onto a bench. She sank into it leaning her head back and I prayed she would pass out. No such luck. “Can’t fire me…mentally unstable?” Her voice rose, “Who would say that?” Her head flew up. “Who?”

I shrugged and stepped back, observing my mentor of ten years. She had once been so elegant, the reason I chose this cast in the first place. A fireball on the stage, she never missed a beat and stole the show from everyone else on stage. She got the recognition, the awards, no one else stood a chance. Such a powerful, easy-to-end career. All it took was a rumor.

“I don’t need them,” she continued. Her eyes filled with tears and they spilled down her cheeks, leaving trails of mascara that seeped into the deep cracks in her skin. Makeup could only cover so much, I thought and cringed as she leaned forward. She was going to take my hand, but this was where I would take my leave. I moved to step back but suddenly it seemed her aim was swift and sure and her hand shot forward, wrapping around my wrist. The other followed suit and there was a glint of silver under the street-light and a sharp pain in my stomach.

She stood up and pulled me down, my knees buckling, a wicked smile on her wrinkled lips. She lifted a high-heeled foot and pressed my shoulder. My balance gave way and my face hit the concrete.

She let out a small cackle as my vision blurred, “Mentally unstable, my ass.” And then she was gone, and I was left soaking in a moist, sticky, puddle.

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