collection of delicate feathers on black background

Flash No. 18 – Denise Tolan

Medication Guide AMBIEN® (ām’bē–ən)

by Denise Tolan

Read the Medication Guide that comes with AMBIEN before you begin taking the pill, or unless you can’t sleep. Which is ironic.

Some patients have reported side effects, such as completing activities they do not fully recall. Some of these activities include sex, driving, and talking on the phone. Call your doctor immediately if this occurs.

Or, leave a glass of water and the bottle of pills by your bedside. 

Dissolve one tablet in the tub while you take a very hot shower.

Put on makeup and fix your hair.

Drive to his house.

Decide if you will destroy his car, or hers.

Decide hers. She will make him pay long after he has forgiven you.

Use a wrench. Wrenches are heavy but easily handled. If you have difficulty breathing, swing a hammer. Bring a towel to help muffle the noise.


1: Remind yourself how kind she was to tell you she was seeing him. She’d been burned before. Didn’t want to be that girl to anyone else. 

2: Remind yourself how you blew him in the bathroom of a ChuckECheese while screams and shrieks from birthday children crept beneath the bathroom door. In the car, he shook his head like a dog who had been rained on. Had to come for my nephew, he said, but kids are not in my future.

3: Remember her saying we’re pregnant, and taking one of your hands like you were a grandmother she was pleased to meet. 

Aim at the back window.

AMBIEN can be abused. We know you know that.

Denise Tolan’s

work has been included in places such as The Best Small Fictions 2018, Atlas and Alice, Hobart, Lunch Ticket, and was a finalist for both the 2019 and 2018 International Literary Awards: Penelope Niven Prize in Nonfiction. You can find more info about Denise and her Moby-Dick obsession at

Photo by Evie Shaffer on

Check our Submittable page for new opportunities