Stories No. 8 – Dani Purcell

by Dani Purcell

Out, she says, she wants it out. Her choice weapon is a pill in a small brown bag and she stares at it in her lap as she chain-smokes on the drive home. Are you sure, I say for the last time. She scowls and says, I’ll be in the bathroom, as she slams the door. So I uncork the wine and drink the whole thing to the orchestral doom of her howling. Then silence. A weak beckoning as she whimpers my name. The door swings open and I stumble in to behold our child. Fleshy pieces slosh in reddish water framed with her sinewy alabaster stems. I am drunk, so drunk I lurch forward and throw up. Dammit, she screams, and falls forward vomiting. We heave—I in the toilet, she in the tub— to the rising stench of wine and regret and iron. Tomorrow, she will cry as she scrubs the porcelain, as she works the bristles to groom the chunks of coagulated blood from the drain. I expectorate a final slush of spittle, and, distracted by the mold in the toilet bowl, plant my foot in a puddle as I stand.

The plaster exudes a remote coolness against my aching jaw. She is saying my name. She is asking, are you ok? Beneath the tub’s clawed feet are several teeth. I reach for one, trying very hard to keep these gums together for fear of making a bigger mess. The tooth feels smooth against my fist. What are you doing, she pleads, say something.

I open my palm. The tooth gleams.


Dani Purcell graduated from Minnesota State University in 2013 with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. A natural performer and emphatic singer-guitarist, she channels her experience with poetry and profanity into songwriting for her band, Angry Bukowski. She is from Huntington, West Virginia, and currently lives in Minneapolis.

July 23, 2014
Photo by: Gessy Alvarez

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