Do Not Exceed Stated Dose: A Novel


Segment 1 - Cally Benz and wasted celebrity

Cally swept into the bathroom like a tornado and made a lunge for the toilet bowl. Hunched over the marble seat, she emptied the contents of her stomach in one go - a litre of vodka, low calorie chicken teriyaki and, of course, something resembling carrots. She wiped her mouth, smearing lipstick and spittle, and sagged against the nearby bathtub.

Her gaze swung around the room, still tilting wildly as it was, and she struggled to focus.

The decorating scheme at least was familiar. This was her flat. Or a convincing copy.

She peered over her shoulder. It wasn’t unusual to find a stranger passed out in her bath but on this occasion it was empty.

Touching a hand to her damp forehead, hoping to somehow ease the ebb and flow of nausea, she swore under her breath. Last thing she could remember was staggering into a black cab with some girl, hands all over each other, and the driver‘s leer as he watched in the rear view mirror.

Her lips were sore from rough kissing, the tug of teeth on her skin. From the remaining wetness between her legs, she supposed the girl might still be around.

It took a few minutes for her stomach to steady itself and she hauled herself to her feet, leaning on the bath for support. A puff of shaky breath escaped her mouth.

She studied her reflection in the mirror, noting with a grimace the dark circles under her eyes and the straggly hair that clung limply to her cheeks. It was like looking a stranger in the eyes, certainly not the immaculately groomed face she normally presented to the world.

She traded on her looks - some even said she was the spitting image of her mother. Tonight - or whatever the time of day it was - she looked like shit, like some dreadful apparition.

She pushed a hand through her hair, trying to salvage something, before pushing the door open.

The flat was dark but she could see the outline of the girl slouched on the sofa. She was asleep it seemed so Cally crept over to her, a smile on her face. Watching the girl’s profile, Cally ran a gentle hand up the girl’s bare arm. It was cool to the touch.

Pausing, Cally’s hand moved to the girl’s chin, grasping and turning the girl’s head towards her. The blue glow of the moon lit pale features and the dried blood encrusted on the girl’s chin.

Immediately Cally recoiled, wide eyes darting to the coffee table where two parallel lines of white powder remained untouched on a silver cigarette case.

She leapt from the sofa, all thoughts of her unsettled stomach forgotten, as her hands clamped to her head. “Oh that’s just FUCKING perfect,” she snarled at the ceiling before kicking the coffee table.