2016 was certainly a very weird, very dark section of time-space, so it’s no surprise that a lot of the weirder, darker pieces we published here this past year attracted so many eyeballs. The 10 most-viewed pieces on flapperhouse.com in 2016 were…
#10. “Doodlebug” by Emily Linstrom is a haunting tale about a family of monstrous immortals hiding out in “a part of London even London has no recollection of…” (From our Spring 2016 issue.)
Our Winter 2017 issue doesn’t fly until December 21, but if you’d like an early taste of all the hungry, beastly lit that lies in wait, here’s Deirdre Coyle‘s wonderfully bizarre short story “How to Vomit Living Creatures.”
AND THEN SHE VOMITED A CAT. Not so much a hairball as an entire cat. It folded out of her mouth and onto the floor, fur smoothed by mucus.
She was wearing her bumblebee sweater.
“You look like a bumblebee,” said her mother.
“I just threw up a cat,” she replied.
Her mother looked at the clock. “Isn’t it time for your therapy?”
“Well…is the cat dead?” It was not moving.
“Let me check on it. Go see your therapist.”
Veronica was a student of comparative linguistics. She walked two miles to class every morning. Sometimes she ran. Sometimes she ate Luna bars while walking. This was allowed. At lunch, sometimes she ate french fries or chicken fingers. This was not allowed. Sometimes she stuck her fingers down her throat afterwards. Other times she ran an extra five miles on her way home to make up for it. Nothing made up for it.
The therapy sessions had begun after her freshman year of college, during which she had dropped thirty pounds in a few months and maintained a perfect 4.0.
“Do you worry often?” the therapist had asked during their first session. “About grades, maybe? Or boys?”
“I worry about grades,” Veronica replied. “But mostly I just get good grades. That’s what happens. To do otherwise would be stupid.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I’m in college, right? My mom’s paying for it. So I’m not going to waste her tuition money partying, you know?”
Her therapist raised an eyebrow, one finger tapping the arm of her chair. “Why do you say that?”
After two years and as many pounds of weight gain, Veronica’s therapist continued to question obvious statements.
“You can’t just eat a cookie and then throw up a cat,” said her therapist.
“I could. I did.”
“Not physically,” the therapist said, scribbling on her pad. “In order to purge a cat—”
“I wasn’t purging.”
“I only meant expunge. In order to expunge a cat, you must have eaten a cat.”
“I never ate a cat. I only ate a cookie. And if I had eaten two cookies, I probably would have thrown up two cats. Or maybe one, much fatter cat.”