Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #18


Black Forest, Germany: a longtime (but not always) lesbian has been harboring a secret from her only heterosexual lover for forty years. Her partner has always regarded it as a wedge between them.

"Mitzi," Johanna slurred. "Can I see the book?"

Silently, Mitzi pulled a green, cracked leather album from a shelf and laid it on Johanna's lap. Johanna spread her hands across the cover.

"Promise me," she began, then faltered.

"Anything," said Mitzi, leaning closer.

"Promise me you won't find him."

"It was a long time ago, Johanna. What's past is past," she lied. If it weren't for him, thought Mitzi, I would still have you.

"Promise me, then."

"I promise."

A trace of a smile remained on Johanna's face as her hands slipped off the book.

Brock elbowed the door open, balancing three cups of tea on a cutting board.

Mitzi sighed, a single tear trapped in one of her crow's feet. "As usual, Brock, your timing leaves something to be desired."

His face screwed inward and he dropped the tea. "No!"

If she weren't already dead, Brock would likely have crushed Johanna as he lay across her sobbing and stroking her cheek. His weight yanked her IV tube loose and it twirled impotently, dripping morphine onto the pine floor.

Mitzi grabbed the corner of the book and tugged it from between Brock and Johanna. She ran her finger up and down its spine and walked slowly toward the door. She hoped Brock interpreted it as respect for his privacy. In truth, she couldn't stomach any more of his bawling.

I've shared her whole life with him, thought Mitzi.

At least I had her death to myself.



  1. Very interesting scene--quite original and well-written! One nit: the line after "what's past is past," consider changing "Mitzi" to "she" or use "Mitzi" instead of "she" in the first attribution; I had to stop to figure out if Mitzi was a different character than "she."

    I was intrigued by Mitzi's jaded remark to Brock--not all that common in fictional death scenes! Nice!

    Check the wording of the paragraph where Brock crushes Johanna. "If she weren't already dead" is such a casual way to break the news to us readers. Perhaps just a different order: "Brock fell onto Johanna. He would have crushed her, but she was already dead..."

    Loved the ending. Very nice!

  2. I'm a teensy bit confused, but that's probably because I haven't actually read the story. :) I liked the emotion, how you displayed both Brock and Mitzi in a very real way.
    My only problem, and this isn't probably one you'll run into with any other reader, is that Brock and Mitze sound an awful lot like Brock and Misty, who're Ash's best friends in Pokemon.
    But, like I said, I wouldn't worry to much about that. :D

  3. This one was confusing to me especially with Mitzi's nonreaction to Johanna's death. I love the "single tear trapped in one of her crow's feet" line. Great visual.

  4. Engaging premise. A triangle always is.

    Could be that the reader is brought in too early in the scene to help make a connection with the death. I wanted, but couldn't feel much for the characters.

    The last two lines are revealing about Mitzi. She seems dispassionate.

    Consider slowing the death scene. Even Brock's reaction to the death. His collapse over Johanna's body seems almost comical. Maybe if knelt, took her hand...stroked it?

    I would continue to read more because I like the theme.

    Good luck!

  5. This pulled me in right away although I had to re-read it a couple of times to get the women straight. Kudos for the tear in the crow's feet. The end is nicely handled. Good job!