by Jenny Fried

I have a problem, a weakness in me, which is this: I get mixed up in my no’s. When I was with C in the bar, there was a man, a short man, wore an orange hunting vest and glasses. He gave me a bullet to roll in my hand, hollow, he said, like a soda can. C kept saying she had to pee, wrapped her arm around my shoulder. Hold another said the hunter and I didn’t say no. He pressed it between my fingers. I could feel it, how it could split a hide and shatter underneath, the subtle quiet in the violence of its shape. Another, he said, I said yes as if to C but she had already gone, sulked off across the bar.

Let me buy you a drink and I didn’t say no.

Here, the jacket is fur and I didn’t say no.

A cabin and I didn’t say no, just felt the bullets in my hand, desired for a moment to take their shape as my own, to burst and tear as I was shattered.

I remember looking out the cabin window from the bed, the snow outside the birch trees with their empty finger bones. A deer looked at me from the edge of the clearing. I remember the red that dripped from its black nose. I’ve heard that deer will eat meat when they are starving, strain to break the hide of rabbits with their dull flat teeth. I watched the deer shiver as I scratched against the hunter’s back, and for a moment, trapped behind the foggy glass, I felt I might be dangerous. I remember the moment the deer collapsed, thin legs tangled in the falling snow.  

Jenny Fried is a writer living in Virginia. Her work has appeared previously in Wigleaf, Gone Lawn, X-R-A-Y, and elsewhere. Find her online at https://jennnnnyyyyyy.github.io/ or @jenny_fried on Twitter. 


Photography by: Aaron Huber