Just pounded out something right quick to get the juices flowing again. It’s been a long time since I’ve played the flash fiction game. 🙂

Secret Ingredients

By Jessica West
479 Words


“You really should do something with your hair, Donna. You could actually be kinda pretty if you tried to. Look at mine. This style might look hard, but it’s really not. I could show you…”

Donna forced a placid smile and waited for her ‘friend’ to finish speaking. Then she remembered Kathy never actually finished speaking. Why on Earth was Kathy spending so much time at her house? Sure, her husband had left her and having a supportive friend was nice…to a point. But she was there every single day. How much longer would she have to endure this?

The digital clock on her microwave read 2:14. Thank God!

“…and then just put some bobby pins—”

“Kathy, I’m sorry to interrupt, but the kids will be home from school soon—”

“Oh! What time is it?” She glanced at her cell phone.

Of course she couldn’t just take Donna’s word for it. It wasn’t like Donna knew how to read a clock or anything. She rolled her eyes so hard, an ache immediately speared her temples. Maybe she was being a bit harsh on her best friend. They were spending way too much time together, and it was really starting to wear on her. She opened her mouth to apologize, but Kathy had already started toward the door, still running off at the mouth.

She swallowed her apology and followed Kathy to the door.

“Listen to me,” Kathy put a sympathetic arm on Donna’s shoulder. “I know you’re upset Bryan left you. But even you have to admit, you let yourself go after that miscarriage. You have two healthy kids, Donna. You should be grateful for that.” She had the gall to pat Donna’s shoulder like she’d just said something kind. Not for the first time, she wondered if Kathy wasn’t intentionally tormenting her. No wonder she was ready to strangle her. If she had to spend one more day with her…

She forced another smile. “I’m just going through a rough patch. I’ll get through this. Maybe I’ll go get my hair done tomorrow, after I drop the kids off with Bryan.”

Kathy’s smile faltered. “Oh, I didn’t know they were going to Bryan’s this weekend.”

What was that all about? She seemed…disappointed.

Kathy quickly recovered her usual enthusiasm, though it seemed a bit forced now. “See you tomorrow morning. Thank God it’s Friday!”

No, she wouldn’t see her tomorrow morning, but Kathy didn’t know that. The special drink Donna had made for her sat on the counter by the door.

“Here, Kathy, don’t forget this.”

“Oh yeah! I swear, I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached. Thanks again!”

She watched as Kathy made the trek through Donna’s back yard and into her own, sipping her drink all the way. She had warned her it was one of those sweet, fruity concoctions you had to drink slowly because it crept up on you. Ground cherry pits, bitter almonds, and cassava shavings—the secret ingredients—would ensure tomorrow would be a Friday to truly be thankful for. Even if it didn’t kill her, Kathy definitely wouldn’t show up on Donna’s doorstep yet again. She started visiting every day during the week since Bryan left, for “moral support,” she’d claimed.

Whatever. Donna would treat herself to a full makeover tomorrow, sans Kathy. Maybe even a whole new wardrobe to celebrate her ‘day off’.



Jessica West (West1Jess) is pursuing a state of self-induced psychosis (reading, writing, editing). She lives in Acadiana with three daughters still young enough to think she's cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

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