Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about longing by Diana E. Almaretti.
Diana E. Almaretti was born in the Western United States’ very own Golden State, California. There, she won several local awards in her home region of the Bay Area.
Constantly drifting about in her own head, Diana switches rapidly between thinking about fictional characters, cosplaying as fictional characters, and roleplaying as fictional characters in egregiously long sessions of Dungeons and Dragons. Moments in the real world are spent preparing to do these other things at a later date. Easy enough to understand. She is in a near-constant state of fiendish obsession.
‘Shrimp Diet’ follows a girl as she seeks revenge for her heartbroken friend.
We pull in front of the half-lit Walmart sign, the first ‘A’ flashing like a strobe and the ‘L’ out entirely. There are abandoned shopping carts strewn haphazardly across the front entrance in the night breeze, lonely and forgotten by whatever poor employee got stuck with the night shift; my eyes shift to a homeless man as he inspects one, turning his head about to check for watchful eyes.
It’s barely a whisper coming from my right and I turn to see Missy, knees up to her chest, as she leans away from me into her seatbelt. Nineteen years old and reverting to how she behaved back in second grade when the boys teased her for her freckles.
‘What?’ I ask, shifting the car into park and turning it off with the quick push of a button. The air stretches out like putty into a thin length of silence before she repeats herself, her usually chirpy voice turned flat and dry.
‘Rico, the sign. It says Wa-mart.’
I glance up again at the missing L. ‘Yeah, I guess it does, doesn’t it?’ I turn and she greets me with a head of tangled ginger hair as she stays facing the passenger window, now absentmindedly tracing a frowny face into her breath-fogged glass.