too small town / by Julia Berke

I can’t stand people in this small town. They’re so content with the hand they’ve been dealt rather than ask for a re-shuffle. Some new cards, a new hand to help carry them out of the monotony of complaining about their mindless job or getting high in public or getting so drunk they can’t remember my face that used to loom down synthetically lit hallways lined with the evergreen metal lockers hardly anyone used.

Even meeting people from the small town over proves more exciting than going to the same bar and trying to carry out a conversation with someone who doesn’t care for their own life, much less mine.

The initial interest fades when I learn they, too, are sitting on a hand they’ve had for over twenty years with no signs of movement. Tricked by the new information only to learn I’ve heard the story been told, just from a mouth that dripped with liquor from age fourteen and is just as acerbic.

Because I’ve outgrown this way of living, have always strived to do more, be better, discover new things, I can’t simply sit on the same barstool and listen to the repetitive drivel. There’s not much else to do. So here I sit, resisting the urge to scream, imbibe, cry, and smoke, as the hours drip slowly from the etap and hit the bottom of the glass, hissing sarcastically and with an air of self-important knowledge only a fool could muster.


Julia Berke is a New York City ex-pat living on Long Island. She's a Library Assistant who doesn't shush students but still instills fear and is a frequent instagrammer (@joliajerky). She has collected all but two Neko Atsume special cats and maybe, hopefully, someday, will be pursuing a Master's Degree in Secondary English Education at [Insert School Name Here].