“Raise a glass!” He roared, drink sloshing over the rim of his cracked mug, “Raise a goddamned glass to this godforsaken country and their lice-ridden spawn." Teetering against his balcony railing he thrust his mug over the edge, beer spilling out onto the street below.

“What else do we have to then sit here and drink ourselves silly on old alcohol and expired milk.”

The Man chugged the remaining beer and refilled his mug from a bottle in his other hand.

“Fuck you! You hear that! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”

“Hey! Keep it down goddammit! Some people are trying to sleep.”

“At 10:00pm at night? What are you, 5 years old?”

“Some of us are trying to sleep so we can get up and go work in the hospitals.”

“Oh, so you work at a hospital then, forgive me your highness, I didn’t realize that you were part of the new upper-class.”

“Well, no.”

“Ah so the queen LIES, she is nothing but a cheater and a liar!”

“Shut up! Please, just go back into your apartment and leave the rest of the fucking street alone.”

“I paid for my right to stand up on my property and tell the world how the fuck I feel.”

The Woman in the balcony across the street, hair tied up in a tight bun at the nape of her neck and a cellphone held tightly in her hand let out an exasperated sigh.

“There are more people than just you that need to exercise their civil rights.”

“You’re talking to the wrong person lady! Nobody matters to me but me.”

The sun was setting, shadows lurking around the empty balconies. The dark red glow was fading into a deep violet quickly as the Woman’s lip curled.

“Ok well, I don’t give a shit about you ok, is that enough for you to go the hell back inside your own damn apartment and stop bothering the entire city.”

He raised his mug and his bottle to her, “But lady, what else do we have to do than bother the entire city. Our lives have been distilled down into the monotony that we used to go to work to try to avoid.” The Man took a swig from the bottle and then with little remorse tossed it over the edge of the railing.

It crashed into pieces when it hit the ground.

“You could HURT somebody.”

“There’s no fucking body walking anymore. If they’re not in their cars and not in their haz-suits then they’re in jail. I’m not harming a hair on nobody.”

The phone buzzed in the Woman’s hand, momentarily catching her attention. She watched it ring until it stopped.

“Mind turning the volume on that down,” He called over the road sarcastically, “You’re aggravating the neighbours.”

“And you are aggravating me!”

“Well, go tell someone who cares.”

Her fists clenched tightly, “Listen, I come out here so I don’t have to deal with the shitshow that is my own life. So please, do me a favour, just for tonight, shut up. Tomorrow you can go as batshit as you want.”

“Tomorrow isn’t magically going to be better than today. How can it be when we are stuck in our hovels while the first class is being carted around in goddamn haz-carts.”

“Tomorrow has to be better, because if it’s not then I’m not sure what the point is anymore.”

“What ever has been the point? What is the point if we can’t go to a goddamned beach, feel the sun and sand? Ever since they locked us in here it’s all gone to shit. There is no point anymore.”

The Woman’s phone started ringing again. This time she declined the call.

“Who the fuck is calling you at this hour? This hour is for drinks.”

“My husband, ex-husband.”

“Leave you before the Shutdown?”

“No, left today.”


He raised his mug to her, this time with a sober look, “Being alone is never easy.”

“He didn’t have to leave. He just did. He’d rather be homeless during the Shutdown than in this apartment with me.”

“Sounds like an idiot. Nothing’s worth leaving right now. Doesn’t matter how much of a fuck you were.”

“I have always been reasonable!”

“That’s what the unreasonable people say.”

“No, THAT’S what the unreasonable people say.”

Her phone rung again and the Woman took one look at it and then tossed it over the railing.

“Your aggression suggests that that was your husband.”



“It was.”



“If you’re sad he left why aren’t you picking up his calls? Why’d you…throw your phone over the edge. Now you have to buy a new phone.”

“It’s complicated.”

“Well, I’ve got nowhere to go.”

“Hah, I’m not about to talk to some fucking asshole about my life.”

“What exactly do you think we’ve been doing for the past hour.”

He sat back into his chair and shimmied up to the balcony railing. He’d finished his first beer, and a second and a third and was on his fourth, which was a bottle balanced on the railing.

“We aren’t going anywhere.”

“Well, I am.”

“What, no! Don’t go.”

She turned back to her balcony door. The Woman hesitated a moment at the Man’s cries before turning back to face him.

“You can’t be this desperate for human interaction that you want to keep yelling at

each other across the street?”

“We could take turns throwing things off the railing. We’re already 1 for 1.”

“Not sure what else I have to toss over the edge. I could throw some cutlery.”

“I got 3 more cases of beer.”

“Could toss his clothes, might help some of the homeless out there from being jailed.”

“Oh, I actually only got 2 cases of beer.”

“Or maybe my ring, yeah fuck this ring.”

In a swift movement the Woman pulled the ring off her finger and tossed it over the edge.

“Was it valuable?”

“Cost him five months salary.”

“Should’ve sold it instead.”

“Why? To buy more clothes I’ll never wear?”

“You know, you didn’t say why your husband left.”

“It’s your turn.”


“It’s your turn to throw something over.”

“I don’t actually have that much beer left and I’m not sure when the next shipment is coming in.”

“It’s. Your. Turn.”

“Alright, alright.”

He leaned over to pick up a small stool beside him. In a single movement he tossed it over. It was dark now. It was like tossing something into an abyss.

“That stool mean something to you?”


“Then your turns not over.”

“Nothing here means much to me anymore.”



“Not even yourself?”


“You must mean something to yourself. That’s why you haven’t chucked yourself over the edge.”

The Man laughs, a smile on his face. It doesn’t reach his eyes.

“There are worse things than death, but I don’t think we’re there yet. Soon.”


The moon was out now. It cast a ghostly sheen on everything it touched.

“Think we’re ever gonna be let out of here?”

Thin clouds started to roll through the sky, casting spidery veins over the moon. The air turned thick as the night grew blacker. The Woman let out a deep sigh before turning back towards the balcony door. The Man was silent as she stepped through and shut the door behind her. She paused. She turned around, looking at the Man through the glass door and gave a small, wan wave, before turning back around and disappearing into her dark apartment.

“Mmm. Thought so.”

April 22, 2020 19:07

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Sue Marsh
17:53 Apr 30, 2020

The story line is good, but the language leaves a bit to be desired in the dialogue.


Hema Nookala
19:30 May 03, 2020

Thanks Sue! Anything specific?


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