Small War

by Jesse Anger

He exhaled—  his eyes bore into the kitchen shadows. She’d been fixated on the stem pipe which he held like a cigarette between his fingers. She could see the coke resin caked in the Brillo, could taste the acrid smoke in the back of her throat. He shifted his weight, reached for a clipped length of clothes hanger and began to scrape the pipe with it.

“Pass it here, Lance.”

Lance cut a sideways glance across the filthy coffee table, then cracked his neck and smirked. Sara felt the steel of want sharpen her tongue, then as quick as the confidence had risen in her, it faded into self doubt.

“Lance, Lance— come on baby pass it here, I wanna do a toke.” She opened her legs slowly and re-crossed them. Her hands were busy, stitching a frenetic patchwork into the air.

Lance began to heat the glass stem with his lighter, running the flame up and down the glass leaving a black film that he wiped away meticulously with a ratty ball of Kleenex. Silence. The sound of metal on glass as Lance pushed the Brillo back and forth inside the pipe cut deep into Sara’s consciousness. She slunk from her seat and grabbed a solid brass candle holder from the mantle, looked for a match then lit a candle. She watched the flame bend as she walked, watched it melt the lobe of wax into a rivulet which ran slower and slower, congealing into a frozen tear half way down the candle. She set the candle on the table and sat down at the far and of the sofa.

“Give me the fucking pipe, Lance, you’re gonna burn the Brillo—”

“I’m buzzin’ out, don’t grind me.” He flicked the lighter and sucked the flame into the pipe, he turned the stem in his fingers as he did this. His cheek sunk in revealing the bone structure of his face— the slow gradation of hue from grey-green to shadowy wells under his eyes.

“Goof, you’re a sketched out goof.”

Lance shot up, his eyes reflecting the scene from the muted television set.

“Sorry, babe, here you go.”

Sara took the pipe from his hand hot end first, she sucked air through her bared teeth and glared at Lance. That useless piece of shit, Sara thought. I’ll fix his little red wagon. She lifted the pipe to her soft mouth— just before she lit it Lance drew back his hand and with his open palm smashed the glass stem into her teeth and gums. Sara shrieked as blood from her mouth, ran in dark tributaries down her chin and neck. He drew a sharp breath.


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Short(er) Fiction Vol. 1 is "Out of Print" from The Blasted Tree Store.


Contributing Author

Other works on The Blasted Tree:


Short(er) Fiction Vol. 1 is a collection of Blasted Tree original short stories.

ISBN [Digital]: 978-0-9938364-5-9

Cover Design by Kyle Flemmer - Cover Image by Jesse Anger

Feature Image by Chase Anderton