fiction of reality CC
On a long-running group chat with my three best friends, I send the obituary of the guy that sexually assaulted one of us over twenty years ago and I think this is the best way to deliver the blow – in a negative, neutral space – since we can’t all be together but the second I hit send I have my doubts and then E—responds, “Good. He was a predator” and A—wants to know how he died and we’re all sort of giving J—shit for not being the first to know about it (she stayed in our hometown; she’s our unofficial hub for gossip) and we start to guess since this information is never available online: heart attack? At 41? Blood clot? My money’s on prescription medication mixed with alcohol because this is Appalachia we’re talking about and then J—who is still smarting from not being the first to know says, “Well, did you hear about Chunk?” and no, no, no, what happened to Chunk? He got arrested and convicted of raping his own daughter, Jesus Christ, but I say that is actually really weird because I was just talking to another high school friend whose ex-boyfriend, Jason, just went to prison for molesting his step-daughter for years and J—says, “wait, I know that guy!” See, Jason did some handyman work for them at the house the weekend before he got arrested and A—says, “He wasn’t alone with the kids, right?” and we all go back and forth in a panic before J—realizes no, we’re talking about two different Jasons from our hometown who molested family members and got caught, he was never alone with her kids he was always outside the house and the group chat goes quiet for a little bit and E—pops back in and says, “Whoa guys, dark” and we make a few more guesses about what might have killed the guy that sexually assaulted one of us (auto-erotic asphyxiation? Complications from Covid-19? Suicide?) and J—says if she dies randomly, she wants us to post cause of death so no one assumes she’s a closet drug addict or that she killed herself and I say, “Auto-erotic asphyxiation. Got it” and then we all say love you, love you, love you, goodnight.
Brianne Kohl's work has appeared in various publications including Catapult, The Masters Review, and River Teeth. In 2018, she was awarded the Wigleaf (Mythic Picnic) Prize for Fiction and in 2020, was given second place in the Atticus Review CNF Flash Contest. For a full list of her publications and awards, please visit at www.briannekohl.com.
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