She was a fainter. Like a less graceful Snow White minus the dwarves. Only she never wanted a man to catch her. Secretly, she wanted to land on one, knock him flat on his ass, let him struggle to escape as she descended into sleepy oblivion. It was habitual. Christmas, when Uncle Jon cut himself with a carving knife. As a high-schooler, her heartbeat pumping erratically at the slow dip of her boyfriend’s fingers inside of her. College, needles to draw blood, needles to tattoo bats. This time, at a cooking class, she locks her knees as she reaches for the linguine. When she wakes, her long body stretched out like a length of rope on the cold linoleum, she stares up at the man above her and says, “How did you get here?” When really, she wants to say, how did I miss sideswiping you like a Mack truck? His gaze meets hers. He takes her thin wrist between his fingers, rolling it out, feeling her pulse until she is as boneless and as slick as a drifting wave.
Jules Archer is the author of the short story collection, Little Feasts (Thirty West Publishing, 2020) and the chapbook, All the Ghosts We’ve Always
Had (Thirty West Publishing, 2018). Her writing has appeared in various journals,
including SmokeLong Quarterly, PANK, Okay Donkey, Wigleaf, Maudlin
House, and elsewhere. Her story “Johnson County” will appear in Best
Small Fictions 2021.