by Alley Smith


     My friends make a circle of chatter and escalating excitement as I lean back, absently listening to key words so as not to appear rude if later questioned. They jump from topic to topic, but it’s always a circle of recycled ideas. Music, book, video game, video.

     Politics leading to Drugs leading to Politics.
     “Well even if you don’t like Alicia Keys, you must admit she has talent...”
     Someone briefly catches my eye, so I offer “Talent or no, I never liked her music.” I have no idea who this woman is or what she sings, I’m distractedly thinking of Dita Von Teese and those amazing tits that can’t be real. At least I’m thinking about something music related.
     An extended hand offers me a lit cigarette, I accept with a smile. Is it even a smile? I don’t know, but nobody seems to be paying attention. I sink further into the couch and admire how the smoke pours from my mouth. I would have done well as a painting.
     I’m pulled from this reverie when the attention is finally turned on me. They watch me with mild amusement, probably because my lack of attention and social awkwardness has become the expected occasional distraction from an otherwise normal series of sentences. My absence of humanity is refreshing, if only because my face is expressive.
     Again, I wasn’t listening. A girl calls my name, grinning, I was staring at someone for too long.
     “Sorry, I was thinking about something.” No shit. It’s a bad habit, but I often forget when I’m lost in thought.
     I wonder how often Ed Gein sat with someone, replaying his fantasies, thinking about his mom. I wonder who has the bigger obsession, him or I? Again I’m interrupted. My oddities make me interesting, and I’m obligated to tell them what I’ve been thinking about. It’s only fair, as I’ve hardly paid attention these past few hours.
     “Serial killers. I was thinking about Ed Gein, you know the older guy who wore a trucker hat and made a woman suit?” Silence Of The Lambs. I think he inspired Buffalo Bill...
     “Wow, that’s morbid.” Laughter, obviously it’s not a problem.
     I’m tempted to continue, but I shrug with a sheepish grin, as if I also think it’s morbid. Disturbed. The conversation moves foreword, on to changes that everyone hopes someone else will make. I distractedly wonder why they don’t see that something’s wrong with me? Then I remember.
     I’m endearing.


Alley Smith lives in Canada’s Vancouver Island with family. When she’s not out enjoying the Pacific shores, she’s turning over new scenes to reveal in a mixture of poetry and fiction. She first discovered her passion for writing as a child, when she realized her stories were a fun way to help people connect with her.


This story originally appeared in issue 2.