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Blackbird | Dakota Taylor

Phillip stared at his reflection in the blank television from behind his aviators.There was a sense of shame lingering in the air but it was probably just the odor of stale semen. He sat still enough that you would think he was dead. I stared at his toned legs and his penis that retreated to invisibility beneath his unkempt pubic hair. The condom was thrown on the night stand, covered in blood, looking like a dead, baby snake.

I pulled my jeans on and watched Phillip light a menthol without turning away from the screen. The cigarette hung in his mouth, but he didn’t inhale it.

“Give me one,” I say.

“Give you what?” Phillip says.

“What do you think?” I say with more force than intended.

He takes a drag and mumbles to himself.

“I have tickets for MGMT,” He says.

“Okay,” I say.

“So like…do you want to go?”

“Go where?” I say, staring out his bedroom window.

“To the concert Amy,” He says.

“No, not really,” I say.


“Because,” I say.

“Why not Amy, I have to two tickets,” He says getting frustrated.

Because I’m late for class,” I say trying too hard to be sarcastic.

“Who am I suppose to take then?” Phillip says.

I don’t bother tying my Chucks or replacing my tampon. I don’t even look at Phillip when I say “Take your wife.” After I close the door, I hear a lamp or a glass shatter in his bedroom.

Its 11pm. I haven’t left the dorm since the incident with Phillip. My roommate Sarah brushes her chestnut hair while she tells me that Blackbird is the saddest song she has ever heard. She purposely enunciates every word just to piss me off.

I order a pizza but I don’t really eat that much of it and end up throwing it back up in the toilet because it has too many calories. I have to change my socks because the blisters on my feet popped. I hate wearing Chuck Taylors, but I hate the look of other shoes.

Sarah tells me that she needs to get laid but she doesn’t really like the boys in our class. She asks me if I’m still screwing Professor Orwell. I tell her yes, I am fucking Phillip but just for a higher grade. I’ve come to the conclusion that Sarah is a lesbian and not just because she wears cardigans and has family in New York. She doesn’t visit her family but she vacations there a lot. I think she grew up in the East Village, so that would explain her open sexuality towards me. Sometimes I think she just joined the ‘Art of Anatomy’ class to see me model nude. Sarah asks me if there is any parties happening tonight and I tell her no even though that is a lie.

“Don’t use my nail polish,” I tell her before I leave.

Though I’m not sure where I’m headed, I realize that I can’t get into any pubs because I left my fake ID back at the room. Going back to Phillip’s house isn’t an option and he’s probably “tutoring” another student anyway.

In the park are most of the hippie kids. All of them protesting Wall Street or something. One of them plays an out of tune acoustic guitar while he sings Bob Dylan songs. The kid is so high on mushrooms though he starts to forget the lyrics and stops playing so he can put his face in his hands and rock back and forth.

I don’t really like Bob Dylan. When the hippies see that I don’t have any food and I’m not there to protest, they stop paying attention to me and I get bored.

This guy from my philosophy class is having a party at his house and even though I’ve never really talked to him before, he probably has free beer, so I decide to take a cab over there.

I find myself holding two beers that a frat boy handed me before he puked off the front deck outside. Standing next to the keg makes me feel like a fat girl by the punch bowl on prom night. I drink both of the beers even though there mostly foam and I look like some kind of alcoholic.

“I heard Snookie was at this party.”

“Light beer is so much healthier for–”

“The stupid bitch probably has like five STDs.”

“Sushi is okay but that doesn’t make it a life style.”

“Gatorade…yeah dude way better for you than water.”

Random snippets of conversations rape my ears when I pass by people. Half the student council stands by the pool drinking wine coolers, looking slutty and bored.

“Very Old Barton and Wild Turkey are my favorite bourbons,” One of them says.

I don’t really like girls, especially sluts. Courtney spots me and whispers to one of her friends before walking over to me. She is the president of the student council which explains why she has no business wearing high heels.

“Hey Anna,” She says.

“Its Amy.”

“Oh,” Courtney says.

“Yeah,” I say and drink the last of the beer in my cup.

She is silent for a minute and she only stares at her bottle. I notice her smeared lip gloss and I try to guess which guy she blew tonight. Student council girls give almost as much head as drama club geeks.

“Do you have any?” Courtney says.

“Any what?”

“Do you have a gram?” She says to her shoes.


“Because…I need one.” Courtney says with an urgency in her voice.

“I don’t have anything.”

“Yes you do…I know you do,” She says.

“I don’t smoke weed,” I say, toying with her at this point.

Two frat boys roll another keg out by the pool on a dolly. I don’t really like beer but the girls drink free at Josh’s party so I don’t complain. I recognize Josh even with his shirt off and his hat pulled over his face. He is passed out in a lawn chair with a near empty fifth of Bacardi.

“I don’t want weed,” Courtney says.


“I need a gram,” She says, sounding like a broken record.

“I don’t know what you’re–”

“Of crystal Ashley, I know you sell it,” Courtney says, gritting her teeth.

“My name isn’t Ashley and I don’t know what you heard…but it isn’t true.”

Courtney tries to prove her point by crossing her arms and glaring at me. Her stupid, mongoloid friends all look at me and I start to tear up because I know what is coming next.

“Don’t be such a fucking liar, everyone knows that your dad is like the biggest meth dealer in the county,” Courtney says, making her point.

Blood fills my mouth after she says this because I bit my lip so hard. My blood tastes like a hundred pennies and I have no beer left to cover up the bitter flavor.

I sigh and give up acting stupid. She keeps looking at me so I tell her that we should go somewhere else. We sit in the living room with the people too drunk to stand. After we trade product and cash, Courtney pulls out her pipe.

“I can’t get drunk off of those damn wine coolers anyway. Jacob won’t let me drink anything else though. Do you want to hit this with me?” She says.

Four freshmen girls act drunk and hit on the varsity quarterback who’s name I forget but remember his jersey number is 16 which is about how old the freshmen look.

After a few hours the kegs are tapped out which is a total bummer, but I’m already pretty drunk. Courtney is such a fucking whore. I watch a couple stragglers stay to keep the beer pong game going but they use vodka instead. I had the money for a cab, but I lost my cell phone earlier and now I’m super pissed. I steady myself on the arm rest so I don’t fall over. Josh offered to give me a ride back to campus, so I smoked a blunt with him before we pulled out of the drive way.

Josh is about 35, so he still keeps Pink Floyd CDs in his car. His 69′ Camaro swerves on the road and I wait for red and blue lights to illuminate the rearview mirror. Maybe it’s because I’m drunk and stoned, but I decide at that moment that I’m going to drop out of school and travel.

There are too many places to see. Europe. New Zealand. Canada. I can’t live my life fetching coffee for attorneys and making the pay check of a teenager at a fast food chain. As William S. Burroughs once said: “I’ve never been able to breathe in America, especially suburban neighborhoods.”

Josh rubs my leg, and I push his hand away. He tries again, getting more aggressive, and kissing my neck. When he twists my breast I jerk the steering wheel. Josh lets go of me and overcorrects the car. The head lights grow brighter until they disappear when the Camaro smashes into the tree like an aluminum can.

My face smacks the glove box and when I wipe the blood and tears away, I see Joshes corpse half way on the hood of the car. The horn is blaring and I know that Josh could have lived if he had his seat belt on, but deep down I know that’s bullshit. I let him drive and so now I’m responsible for his death.

My vision blurs, but the accident sobered me up a little until my stomach let loose all of the beer on to my lap. The impact from hitting the tree gave me a concussion. After this I would make things right. I know I’m a bad person, but I’m going to change. I just can’t fall asleep. Just have to stay awake until morning. Someone will find us in the morning…I just have to stay awake and–


Dakota Taylor is an author and freelancer from Louisville, Kentucky. Dakota has studied the craft of fiction writing under writers such as Jack Ketchum and Craig Clevenger. His fiction has appeared online and in print from such journals as SolarcideBlink Ink, Surreal Grotesque, and Insomnia Press. Dakota is also a co-editor for SYW Magazine, and has contributed book reviews to various other publications. He co-hosts a literary podcast titled Books and Booze and has received a Pushcart nomination.


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