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An Anthology of Flash Fiction - 3. Russian Roulette





Russian Roulette
By William King


It’s worse than running a red light. Sure, one time you might get hit, but... Doesn't mean it’s all over. Depends.

This was different. One of those chambers wasn't empty. Russian fucking roulette. Keep playing. And it’s gonna happen.


Some things you can talk about, even need to. But I don’t need to talk to anyone about this. I know what being in love is. Feeling sick. Thinking all the time about him. Wanting to be with him. Wanting... to be him.

I changed the brand of cigarettes I smoked. Peter Stuyvesant. Because... Because that’s what he smoked.

He was a great dancer. I never saw a guy in a suit dancing. I never saw anyone dancing like him.

When he was living in the same house as Brendan, he said I could come over. That was a shock. I had no idea Brendan lived there. I hadn’t seen him since school. Shit, I never imagined Brendan moving out of home. People can surprise you.

I thought about what might happen. This was the first time we were alone.

If you step back and look at it, yes. He was weird. That wasn't his fault. Bipolar Steve said. What the fuck is that?

Somebody who tells you he didn’t show because he stayed on the bus. Decided not to get off at the stop. Followed this guy, a stranger he didn't even know. Why?

He thought it was normal.

Nothing happened when we were in his room. In that same house where Brendan lived. He lay down on the bed, face down. He had his clothes on. Told me to lay on top of him. I did.

What’s normal anyway?

Who tells you to do that? He felt how hard I was.

There was this one time I was taking a piss. He came up behind me, unzipped, took it out, and pissed through my legs. How fucking normal is that?


Is that what it is?

That night he said I could sleep over. I did. Of course I did. I was like a love sick puppy. I hung around him, all the time. All the time I could. Nothing happened.

He kicked me. In his sleep. Really hard. Kicked out. I spent the night on the floor.

We could talk. Normally, I mean. Although thinking about it, I’m not so sure. He never got to the end of the story. I knew he left home. Runaway, kicked out? I wasn't sure.

He told me he turned tricks. Met some guy his age who showed him how to make money. In the station toilets.

Was he gay? Don’t ask me. I don’t know.

We lived together. I fucked that up.

How? How do you live with someone like him? I couldn't live with half a story. Half a person.

Bipolar? Is it like that? Half a person.

I fucking loved him!

But it was inevitable. Russian roulette.

You shoot up with heroin. What are the chances?


Heard it by his friend.

My heart was frozen like a Siberian lake. You'd have to drill deep to get through.

He had the final word.

Russian fucking roulette.


Copyright © 2018 William King; All Rights Reserved.
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A harsh story. Loved the balance struck between the personal  emotions and the dispassionate unpacking of a series of events. The narrators pain is sharp and tangible. 

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Yes, a harsh story. I should have dedicated it to David F, but of course, he'll never get to read it! It's tiny cameo from life. Terrible, sometimes things just go the hell wrong. I still think about him, he was twenty something.

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