by Eve Lemieux

translated by Cayman Rock

forthcoming from Dundurn Press, 2022

Black eyeliner, huge gold hoops in my ears, an ebony wig that falls along my jawline: I, Cleopatra Flynn, rabid sex kitten, walk up Mont-Royal pouring a bottle of bubbly right down my throat.

Step into the bar. Shot, dance, shot, puff of weed, shot, throw up, dance, line of coke.

“I’M SO FUCKING BORED! WHAT THE HELL!”

Another bar, Jager-bomb mouthwash, grind my ass on a rapper dressed up as a pimp.

Fuck yeah.

Smoke a gigantic joint in his car, suck him off out of courtesy, throw up in the glove box. Almost get hit by a car crossing the street, tell the driver to go fuck himself, bum a cigarette from a girl dressed as a unicorn, make out with unicorn, smoke the King Size, throw up. Walk barefoot up the sidewalk, makeup melting down my cheeks, stop in front of his apartment. Climb the fire escape, break the kitchen window, slide across the glass-covered counter, hand covered in blood. Wrap a dishcloth around my hand, find the roommate’s painkillers, swallow the whole thing with some leftover moldy wine. Collapse in Martin’s living room in the hope that he’ll find me and make everything better.

I wake up in the emergency room.

My breath reeks and I’m having my period all over my green hospital gown. An enormous nurse adjusts my fluids and tells me that I’ll have to meet with a shrink before I can be released.

“Can I have a pad or a tampon?”

She hands me a diaper. My stomach burns with shame.

Red hair bounces along the hall. Tania, my best friend, is looking for me. Tania, I’m sorry, I’m exhausted, I’m a hot mess, Tania. She’s fucking pissed, her eyes glowing with unshed tears. She doesn’t say anything and it’s scary.

I had prepared a blistering speech to tell you just how scared I was that I was going to lose you. To tell you how selfish it is to go and kill yourself over some dumb fucking guy when we’re right here. Well, I’m right here. I love you… but you’re fucking breaking my heart. You look… you look like a little chicken, ready to be slaughtered. God damn it, Philly… I told you to come over when you feel like that. Even that asshole Martin, I’m the one he fucking called when he found you.

Tania throws herself across me and squeezes me hard. It’s awkward, but almost feels nice.

Excerpt from Like Animals by Eve Lemieux © 2022. All rights reserved. Published by Dundurn Press Limited.

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