There he sat at his table in the pathetic apartment that had become his living quarters. In front of him sat a shot glass, three-quarters full.

Nothing else.

A door opened and slammed shut, snapping him out of his daze.

He didn’t turn to look.


Behind him. A woman’s voice.

“That’s what I hate about you the most,” she continued, as if she owned this place too. “You put a shot in front of you and stare at it, making a whole big production out it. It’s pathetic, really.”

His wife. Ex-wife in progress. Still, he didn’t turn to face her. He hadn’t thought about what it would look like if someone walked in on him.

“You know that you’re going to start drinking again. So just do it.”

She came behind him and plopped a stack of papers on the table next to the shot.

Court papers. Bills. Things he had to pay for:

His house. Now hers.

Lawyer fees.

The tiny coffin.

On top of the papers, she placed a bottle of gin, which she had retrieved from the pantry. A cruel paperweight.

“So that you can finish what you started,” she said.

And then she left his pathetic apartment as cruelly as she had entered, making sure that she slammed the door.

Despite what she said, he stared at the shot glass for a few more minutes before he picked it up.

   “What does it taste like?” he had asked the guy.

   “No harsher than a shot of vodka.” he had told him.

He poured the clear liquid down his throat and gagged. The guy had lied to him. It tasted much harsher than a shot of vodka. But perhaps after five months he forgot how unkind alcohol could taste.

   “Will it hurt?”

   “Quite the opposite. You’ll feel euphoria and then you’ll lose consciousness.”

He felt a familiar tingling rush sweep over his body, his face, his brain. Then numbing.

The sweet numbness.

   “And then what happens?”

   “And then that’s it.”

With shaking hands, he unsteadily placed the shot glass back on the table, where it fell over.

After a moment, so did he.

-Youngman Brown


0 thoughts on “Shot

  1. I was not expecting that ending, but then again, after all he went through, I guess I should have. As the others have said, a lot is going on in that meager 356 words, and it's a very strong story! Well done!

  2. Been there, wouldn't give the c you next tuesday the satisfaction. Then things get a whole lot better.

    Very well done, if you didn't win who did?

  3. Oohoohoo, I liked this story a lot. How you managed a story of this caliber out of so little words is astonishing. Great job and an awesome twist!

  4. Did I mention how talented you are at this?? I totally didn't expect that ending. 365 words and I feel like I just read a sad, yet juicy novel. Best of luck in the contest!!

  5. That was amazing. Having been through the loss of a home, a marriage and a child, I feel like you channeled the emotion beautifully.

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