28th July 2017

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Four friends sit down to a barbeque together. With surprising results!

Submitted: August 03, 2017

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Submitted: August 03, 2017

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28th July 2017

 

They slurped their vodka slushies through twirly straws. Drew had made them, and he prided himself on how delicious they always turned out to be. He also secretly prided himself on giving himself the tastiest one, but it was a secret everybody knew.

Sunlight embraced them from a pearl sky, and the flowers around the four friends blossomed and breathed. The flowers were sparks of different colours, and bees drifted lazily from one to the other. The plants were all plotted along the rim of the roof, surrounding the friends in their self-built hammocks.

Craig was working the barbecue, and tubby, grilled smells wavered through the air and massaged the senses. The other three friends sat in a circle, sunglasses on, all of them relaxed. They had already set the dinner table up, red cloth draped over, utensils out - it was time to prepare for the feast.

Drew sucked the purple out of his slush through a crazed pink straw, and he set it back on the table. He belched satisfactorily.

‘Beaut,’ he declared.

The others murmured their agreement.  

‘My dog sneezed on my face today,’ said Simone. She wrinkled her nose.

‘Excellent,’ said Craig, still turning over hamburgers. ‘Did she do it on purpose?’

‘I actually think she did,’ Simone replied. ‘I was petting him, and he waited until I reached his head, then he turned around to face me and… ’

… the thunder,’ said Craig darkly.

Simone nodded.

‘Shoulda saved my belch for you,’ said Drew. ‘Think I’ve got another brewing if you wanna smell.’

‘Go on then,’ said Simone.

Drew stood up, walked to Simone’s hammock, brought his face to hers, then lapped his tongue over her face like a yawning cow.

Simone spluttered, and Drew’s laughter was like a lion’s roar.

She wiped her face off on her top and tried to whack Drew, but he had already retreated back to his hammock, his grin so wide it could have eaten the world. ‘Told you before – never trust a Drew! We’re tricky.’

Kylie took her sunglasses off and studied Craig. ‘Roll the sausages,’ she said warningly from her hammock. ‘You always burn the sausages.’

Craig turned the sausages and raised an eyebrow. ‘You’ve almost never seen me cook, how can you tell me that?’

‘I’m psychic, you’re silly,’ she elucidated.

Craig bopped his head to the side in acknowledgement and brought his now extra crispy sausages off the grill. ‘I think the food’s ready,’ he admitted.

The four of them sat around the table, chatted, and stuffed their faces. They ate colourful, shining salted salad drenched in olive oil. They chomped on heavy, greasy burgers that farted out boiling bubbles with every bite. The hot dogs were crispy but rescued by hearty BBQ sauce. And of course, there were many vodka-laden slushies. The four of them chatted away until the sky burned purple, and the amber glow from the sun was like that of a flickering candle.

Their voices were loud, and, in time, Simone stretched. ‘I have to go,’ she said, standing up. ‘Still got work tomorrow.’

‘Yeah,’ said Craig. ‘Me too. Gross.’

Drew made to clean up the plates, but Kylie said, ‘don’t worry, I’ll do it later.’

‘Cool,’ said Drew.

‘Before you all go,’ said Kylie, ‘I just wanted to thank you all for coming over.’

Drew’s forehead became a puzzle of wrinkles. ‘Did I seriously just hear that from Kylie? You being sarcastic?’

Kylie drained the rest of her slushy. ‘Every day I look forward to our barbeque.’

Simone said, ‘We only planned this barbeque yesterday. Are you being metaphorical again?’

‘No,’ said Kylie. ‘I was just referring to the eternal time loop I’ve been stuck in for the last few years.’

The other three looked at one another.

Kylie flashed her teeth. ‘It’s been 28th of July 2017 for almost five years now. I count every single day. Every day I record how many days it’s been. Coming up to the fifth anniversary of 28th July 2017. I’ll need to do something special.’

‘Ah,’ said Simone, playing along. ‘You’re living a groundhog day? Why don’t you smash Drew in the face with what remains of the salad? There won’t be any consequences for your actions.’

Drew nodded gravely. ‘It’s what I would do.’

‘I’ve done it countless times at your suggestion,’ said Kylie. ‘He’s usually fine with it. Sometimes he isn’t. Never could figure out why he reacts differently.’ She looked into Drew’s chocolate eyes. ‘What’s going on in that head of yours?’

Drew kept a good poker face, but his pupils shrank. ‘Alternately, I could dunk the salad bowl over your head,’ he suggested. ‘There would be no repercussions for me, right? Since it’s groundhog day it’d all be forgotten by tomorrow. I’d be safe too, right?’

Kylie shrugged. ‘I haven’t lived past these twenty four hours before, so I wouldn’t know.’

‘Good point,’ he said.

‘Have you tried killing yourself yet?’ asked Craig cheerfully. ‘Five years of the same day over and over, sounds like hell.’

‘It isn’t always,’ said Kylie. ‘And yeah, I’ve tried it, sometimes I’m quite creative with it. It usually goes well, but I’ve botched it a few times, too. I’d rather not go into detail.’

Craig laughed. ‘Wish I could live the same day over and over. I’d go full GTA. I’d run down old women and everything.’

‘Your piece of crap car can’t run over the road,’ said Drew.

‘Oh, he’s witty,’ said Craig. ‘Isn’t he witty?’

Drew’s face indicated full agreement.

‘Well,’ said Kylie. She stood up and walked towards the flowerpots, spread on top of the roof’s edge. She looked into the sun’s closing light and breathed deeply. She turned around and faced them, all of whom were unsteady. ‘Thanks for hanging out with me again,’ said Kylie. ‘The BBQ we have together is the only thing keeping me sane right now. I’ll look forward to it again when the day starts over. Don’t worry about what I’m going to do now. By the time this morning comes around again, you won’t remember any of this. It’ll be 28th July 2017 again. Just like it always is.’ She turned her back to them, observed the distant ground, and let herself fall towards it.

The shrieks and nauseating gasps that forced their way out of her friend’s mouths carved the cool air and Craig had to steady himself on their dining table. Simone’s scream horrified Drew, who stood open-mouthed, his body little more than a confounded statue.

‘Why?’ Simone yelled.

All three of them ran to the edge of the roof and looked down. Already a crowd had gathered around Kylie’s corpse. Blood seeped from her.

Craig sobbed into his hands and Drew held Simone, who was shaking and on her knees.

‘She was crazy,’ said Drew, his voice astonished. ‘She was totally crazy. Oh, Jesus!’

The three of them rushed off the roof and fled down the stairs to reach the ground floor. Hours sludged by, and the world grew dark and cold. The barbecue became a cold skeleton with black innards, and the table and surrounding area was now just a pile of some strangers' selfish trash. The clock reached midnight, and 28th July 2017 ended.

 

 

 

 


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