Issue 1 Issue 1 Fiction

A Hard Job

By Ian Crutcher Castillo

Sofia, the musical artist, seizes from a fentanyl overdose on her birthday. It is only a few days into  the first stretch of the tour. She sits up and wipes froth from her mouth and nose. She spits and then she goes downstairs to the lobby to the birthday party being thrown by Sofia’s label manager. Sofia is spacy, aloof as ever, but nobody thinks anything is strange at all because she is often on drugs or Ambien. She is an arena pop star sensation. She can do what she wants. Sofia hugs the people she feels closest to in the room, her cousin, her bass player, and her band’s tour bus driver— they all tell her congratulations. Sofia does not hug her label manager; in fact, she avoids him. Eventually, Sofia finds herself alone again. She is in a kitchen and there is a cake with her name on it. Sofia. The cake is raspberry. Sofia fucking hates raspberries, raspberry flavoring, but it doesn’t really matter anymore. She eats a chunk with her fingers. She just shoves the raspberry cake in her mouth, and chews without swallowing. Then she grabs one particularly big knife from the pantry. Sofia slashes up her left wrist. She does it so quick, there’s no pain. The pain will come, she’s sure of that, the wound is already warm. Sofia tries to take the knife to her right wrist, but the knife slips out from her wet fingers. Sofia sits down to die and doesn’t, which astounds her. She is found by her label manager and quickly whisked away to a hospital, and then to a rehabilitation treatment center for three months so that she can get sober enough to perform, in time, for the second stretch of the tour. 

Ian Crutcher Castillo is a writer living in Brooklyn. He also has stories published and forthcoming in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Maudlin House, and Necessary Fiction.