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A short narrative piece I wrote for my English class.

 Shallow Depths

Laney awoke Sunday morning lying parallel to the cracks in her ceiling tiles. The aftertaste of Jujubes and last night’s Pabst Blue Ribbon lingered on her tongue and between her teeth. A puddle of drool oozed slowly from her gaping orifice. Mascara streaked her cheeks as though Freddy Krueger was her own personal makeup artist. She wiped the slobber with the back of her right hand, it was warm and had congealed in her sleep. Laney found her left hand was occupied with a mutilated beer can, the aluminum edges pointed outward, in search of a body to slice. It quickly became apparent that she’d completely missed her bed in the process of passing out. Still, Laney did not have the gumption to lift herself from the hardwood floor-which was oddly comfortable. In a swell, it all rushed back-her actions of just seven hours before, and the consequences that would inevitably follow. Suddenly the hardwood floor was not low enough and she craved a deeper crater to swallow her and all her pathetic lovesickness.

She began counting the ceiling cracks in an attempt to distract her mind from wandering to thoughts of the previous night. She made it all the way to 37 when finally her conscience could no longer resist and she was back to 2:56 AM again:

It was a Saturday night, but not the kind of Saturday where social invitations were abundant and keggers were a simple frat house away. This Saturday was reserved for recovery from Friday night’s raging. Left to her own devices, Laney cruised the interwebs as she lay on a seafoam green comforter in her studio apartment, laptop safely in position. A half-eaten box of Jujubes leaned against the 6-pack of PBR on her bedside table. Mac DeMarco’s voice cooed softly from her stereo. Laney nursed one of the beers as she clicked aimlessly through various sites, watching a tutorial on how to make her eyelashes appear as full as Edie Sedgwick’s, reading an article on the Top 10 Indie Flicks of Autumn and why each was a must-see, and even dabbling in online shopping for some of the extra-curricular reading her history professor had recommended-because it was just that kind of night.

When she grew tired of the incoherence in her internet use, she swiped her mouse over to the reliable entertainment source Facebook. Scrolling through the endless current of information Laney saw the usual. Oh, Jane got a new haircut. Super cute. Travis posted another picture of his fraternity playing beer pong? My little brother is such a lame-ass. Damn, I forgot it was Aunt Stella’s birthday. Guess I’ll write a quick post. Ugh, boring, boring bor-

What the f*? Laney gawked at the screen and shifted her attention when Hannah, her roommate, stumbled through the door. The essence of Jack Daniel’s entered with her. Hannah fumbled with her boot laces and her expression turned brash at her parka’s stubborn zipper.

“Hannah, did you see this?” Laney glowered, face inches away from the monitor. A moan by the doorway insured she had. “Who the hell is this blonde bitch with Eric? And why did his relationship status change?” Laney hounded.

“Uh, I was gonna tell you but I knew you’d be pissed. Her name’s Charlie Baker. She’s in my psych class. Cute chick. Nice ass,” Hannah mumbled. She threw herself down on the futon across from Laney’s bed.

“And what? She’s like, involved with Eric now? We only broke up like three weeks ago,” Laney jabbered. She clicked on the profile link and scrolled furiously. Her forehead creased in disbelief while Hannah scratched her scalp, clearly distracted.

“Yeah, dude. I don’t know. I heard her in the girl’s bathroom talking about how she was into him and he’d been texting her a lot or whatever. Guess they finally got around to making it official,” Laney sensed Hannah was disinterested and overtly bashed, but she pressed on:

“What’s she like? Is she cuter than I am? Does she have money? I bet she does. Her teeth are the most f*ing white teeth I’ve ever seen. Probably bleached the shit out of them,” Laney rambled.

“Basically,” Hannah yawned, “her dad like, manages a couple banks or whatever. Dude, I’m so wasted I need to crash. Can we have a bitch sesh tomor-”

“Oh shit,” Laney gaped.

And then it happened. The cursor hovered over the Poke Button for less than a second, but Laney’s hand slipped. She clicked the mouse and her worst nightmare instantly soared through cyberspace. A delicate combination of zeros and ones surged through the internet all the way to Charlie Baker’s computer. Laney froze and processed the extremity of the mistake she’d made.  Charlie Baker, her ex’s new spin toy, had just been notified that Laney had creeped her profile up and down and found some remote, internal desire to “poke” her.

The events that followed that night were a blur now. Somewhere along the line she’d assisted Hannah in guzzling 6 or 7 shots of Absolut and finished off the 6-pack in solitude. The empty container of Jujubes were proof enough of her complete consumption. And now she laid on her floor in the limbo of her past mistakes and the mortification that was yet to come.

Hannah had taken off a few hours earlier, so now, alone, Laney staggered to her closet mirror. The image of a bubbly blonde with perfect teeth and wallet full of credit cards played earnestly against her own figure of oil-ridden skin and choppy brunette locks. Laney dissolved into this portrait and once again was filled with the inclination to find a depth that would camouflage her pitiable state.

A slight “bing” resounded from her laptop, breaking her trance. Laney’s head turned away from the mirror in suspicion and she cautiously made her way over to her desk, where her computer was stationed. She opened the notification and laughed, because that’s all she really could do:

“Charlie Baker poked you back.”

© Kirsten Elfe 2014


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