A Story by Jason Galliger

an oldie that i recently finished, some of the references may be a bit dated.



A Short Story By Jason Galliger

You f*****g burnt down the rental,” Melanie screamed at me, arms flailing in the air.

“What the hell were you thinking?”

I drowned her out as I stared at said rental- which was currently being consumed by a raging fire. The fire had only been going on for a few minutes but already I could make out the charred skeleton-like frame from within the smoke.  What confused me was how exactly the rental had caught fire in the first place. There were no matches in the house, and I always make sure to unplug my appliances (especially my blow-dryer) after using them because honestly electrical fires are a b***h on insurance claims.

“Rebbecca, are you even listening to me?” Melanie exasperated. I looked over at her; she was on the verge of tears. Somewhere inside me, I smiled-little miss daddy’s girl who could no wrong-was gonna have hell to pay when she told her father that his $500,000 beach house rental was a smoldering ruin. Imagining the look on his face was priceless..

“What?” I said letting the last part of the word carry a little bit of venom. If she heard any of it, she didn’t show it, and said;

               “Did you hear me?”
               “Obviously not” I scoffed.
               She rolled her eyes, used to my lovely sense of sarcasm. “I asked what the hell were you thinking?”

“Well honestly I was thinking how this place caught fire.”

Melanie scoffed this time. “What are you taking about I SAW you light the fire, you lying little b***h!”

Melanie typically didn’t curse so when she did the words sounded awkward coming out her mouth-like she was stuck rolling her tongue but couldn’t quite get it all the way. Plus whenever she was pissed her voice got all high-pitched and annoying as s**t. This, unfortunately, was a combination of both. I could feel the headache coming on now.  

“What are you talking about;  I was in the bathroom the whole time!” I replied.

Melanie screeched louder. “NO you weren’t, you came out the bathroom and were sitting at the bar by Nathan, reading, and when you saw Joel, and then-“

“Don’t you dare talk about him,” I said, my glance sending daggers.

I had been repressing my feelings at being stuck with Melanie, the worst possible person to be stuck with right now. Instead, I was focusing on more important matters like the beach house we were staying at suddenly bursting in flames and dealing with sweaty bufftastic firemen who recently arrived on the scene. But his name was a switch, unleashing my fury.

“Look I know you’re still pissed but-“ Melanie replied far quieter this time. She knew that when I was pissed I was like Snooki on crack- damn near impossible to shut up + violent  and everyone knew it.

“-still? That would be putting it mildly, especially since it’s you who’s saying it.”

“I told you, that it was only one time, we were drunk and stupid”

“HA- how many times have I heard you use that one before? Please, Mel, I’m not some dumbass random girl from school you can bullshit to and make everything ok. I KNOW you Mel.“

She shifted uncomfortably to side, grabbing her shoulders. “I know. But c’mon Rebecca we’ll get through this like we always do. I mean we’re best friends for crying out loud.”

“-Ex best friends,” I quipped “I’m sending the papers to my lawyer once this fire is over.”

“Please you’re just  being dramatic again,” she said.

“Like you were about 2 seconds ago? About the house f*****g burning, do you remember that? I’m sure you do. So don’t go pulling the drama card on me this time, Mel. You have no right.”

Melanie turned to look at the house again, her face streaked with eyeliner from her tears and looking genuinely sick.

I admit it, I melted.

Despite all my s**t Melanie and I had been best friends FOREVER, and when she looked like that I couldn’t help but forgive her. Mental Note: That little b***h owed me an outburst. I put my hand on her arm looking down at her stomach.

“Look I know you didn’t mean for it to happen. And I’ll help you explain everything to your Dad once he hears.”

She nodded. “He’s gonna be so pissed.” I nodded. My temper was bad, but Melanie’s father was the entire cast of Jersey Shore, The Real World, and every other reality show plus Mel Gibson on acid all rolled into one not so pretty package. If it wasn’t for the money, Melanie and her Mom would’ve left a long time ago. But, a burned down rental property and the insurance nightmare that came with it might do it though.

“But seriously, I swear I did see the book you were holding burst into flames,” Mel said.

I shook my head. “I’m telling you I was in the bathroom the whole time.”

Melanie’s eyes widened “Maybe you don’t remember it because of the shock and all. Try to think back to last thing you were doing.

“Ok” I rolled my eyes. I really hated flashbacks.


I really hated putting on make-up; the lip-stick, the eye-liner, the blush, the nail polish, the French perfume-all of it. It made me sick to think of all those chemicals covering me, probably giving me some form of cancer (don’t believe me go to skindeep.com). This made me seem a bit like a tomboy. But, reputation aside, I was still a female. And I was in love, so naturally I cared about my looks. I was in the bathroom looking in the mirror-primping as Melanie would say. Not bad I thought to myself. For a 18 year old soon-to be college freshman (myb change age to older) I looked good. I was a “mostly legs” 5’ 11” (according to my father, who said my Mom was the same way) . My hair was originally brown, but once I discovered hair dye on my sixteenth birthday it was never the same again. I had done everything from goth ( maybe use stat reference with outliers and medians) to otaku pink with neon green highlights (causing Melanie and some of my other friends occasional discomfort) but Joel had changed that bringing me somewhere back towards normal. Currently I was going with a Laguna Beach LC look, complete with blond highlights-cause Joel had a HUGE crush on her.

Typical of Joel, he was the wannabe reality star, always sending in addition tapes to MTV and GTL-ing religiously. Joel’s favorite part about me was my breasts-naturally he claimed otherwise, saying he loved my nose or something corny, but before we were dating Mel and I had a running bet at how many times he looked over at my chest-I always won. I shifted my push-up hoping the change in elevation would do its job. Not that it mattered-they were hardly visible underneath Joel’s Columbia sweatshirt. My man was smart and sexy. I knew he would be turned on by my attention to detail and my schoolgirl routine-it had worked before. Despite my fidgeting, my breasts wouldn’t cooperate, I didn’t care, everything would be off soon enough.

My favorite feature were my eyes-deep blue and flecked with specks of orange. You might be thinking WTF?-specks of orange, is this girl stoned or something? But thanks to some genetic disorder I was graced with specks-or flecks or whatever-it’s really hard figuring out what to call them now that I think about it.  But what I hated most are my hands. Long and bony, they always seem out of place on my body. Not to mention I had a hand sweating problem, it didn’t happen all the time, but when it did-Jesus- I needed a shamwow or something. I know that Joel thought it was disgusting. I’m surprised he didn’t break up with me over it. But then again- point one breasts.  

Anyways, I was primping away like any good puppy-eyed love sick princess. I was in the middle of applying Clearisil (the only form of creme I use- I don’t f**k around with acne) when I heard the screen door open. I tensed thinking it was Joel coming in early from the beach with his friends. I cracked the door open to see who it was. I sighed it was only Mel, Terry and Wendy. If you were to rank my friends by what they have the most of Mel would be the richest, Terry the smartest, and Wendy the sluttiest. Now normally that would mean Wendy was the most attractive, but our little group was equally bequeathed with beauty-even the nerd Terry was a solid 8 according to Joel (after which I smacked him-who had asked his opinion?). She had chestnut-colored hair and always wore fifties-style red rimmed glassed (which back in elementary school made her cruelly tormented with nickname’s like “Big Betty” and “Grandma” but once the great pubertus found her the nickname changed from “grandma” to something like “hot secretary” and “BIG Betty”.

Despite blossoming Terry had retained her shyness and modesty when it came to her body-coming in wrapped in a towel covering a skimpy bikini. This made her not only the shy prude hot girl, but due to her brain, the smart shy hot girl. Guys dreamt about doing her everyday-even the younger male teachers were spotted making glances. Luckily for her, her boyfriend ,Nathan, was a smart sensitive type with average athletic skills. Who happened to live next door to Joel for years making them permanent bros-and best friends.  

Wendy was beside her and immediately walked in and stretched out on the couch. She angled her legs above her head admiring the day-long tan . Typical Wendy, she was always going on about her body and how perfect it was. She was the kind of girl that would stand on the corner of a street and take off her jacket revealing a generously cut tank-top- all too aware that every guy in the immediate area was staring at her.

She revealed in the attention and had slept with almost every-guy in the school. Yet she never had a boyfriend that lasted more than two weeks. This was something that she passed off as part of her image happy to be called a s**t or whatever else. But only a few people knew that beneath her facade lay a girl with a permanently broken heart. She fell in love with a bad boy at the ripe old age of 14, who made her feel-alive in so many ways, for the first time in her life she felt wanted, needed, and all he really wanted from her was a good lay. When he finally left out the door she went into denial for months. When she finally came too she felt truly empty. The satisfaction she got from her endless parade of boys helped cure her emptiness-if not but for a moment.

“Hwaaaahhh-” Wendy yawned. “Man, I’m so beat from sitting in the hot sun all day. I can’t believe the boys are still out there”

Terry came in ,sat down beside her and said;

“Yea once Nathan and Joel get into a game there’s no stopping them.”

Melanie came over and stood above them saying,

“Please Wendy, you were busy talking to every guy on the beach, that’s why you’re so tired.”

Wendy smiled. “Not every guy on the beach. There’s still the other side of the pier.”

Melanie responded, “But seriously though, you don’t need to so showy about it.”

“What’s your problem, Mel, you seem upset” Terry inquired.

“Oh-she’s just jealous I might take her precious little Dean,” Wendy said.

Melanie turned red. Dean was her long time crush. He had been dating this one girl, Sally, for a long time and they recently broke up. Melanie was employing the full-court press even going so far as to borrow one of Wendy’s designer bikinis that hardly left anything to the imagination.

“No it’s not that” Melanie replied. “I’ve just been feeling pretty s****y lately. My b***s hurt, and I’ve been feeling nauseous all day.”

“Do you need some tampons?” Terry asked, always willing to lend a hand.

“No thanks, I’m not on right now, in fact I haven’t been for awhile”

“Are you late,” Wendy asked.

“No...well maybe a couple of days...”

“Is it the pill?” Terry said.

“No I haven’t been on the pill for awhile,” Mel replied.

“Well what then-are you pregnant or something?” Wendy said.

Mel was silent for a moment, walking over to the fireplace before turning towards them, her eyes tearing up.

“I took a test this morning to see.”

“And?” Wendy and Terry replied barely above a whisper. As if saying it quietly would make the world forget she said it.

“At first I thought it was wrong so I went to the store and bought another one but they both said the same thing,” she held up her two pointer fingers and made a plus sign.

“Holy s**t!” Wendy said. Terry gasped, putting her hands over her mouth.

I sat there in silence for a moment too, and was about to go out too when Wendy said-

“So who is he?”

“Who’s who?” Mel replied.

“The FATHER, you idiot. Who’s the FATHER?”

“It wasn’t Dean was it?” Terry said.

Mel shook her head.

“Then who?” Wendy squawked.

“I can’t say....”

“You can’t say, or you don’t remember cause there’s a difference Mel. And if some guy f*****g roofied you I’ll kick their a*s. And make sure every girl on facebook knows how f*****g small his dick is.”

You had to admit the girl had a way with words.

“No it’s complicated.”

“How the f**k is it complicated I do it all the Time for f**k’s sake. You go in- you go up, you go down, repeat, and you’re done. Simple physics.”

“Actually its biology” Terry interrupted. Wendy shot her a “shut up smartass” look and turned to Mel and said,

“What it’s not like it was someone here or something.”

Melanie went pale. Wendy’s and Terry’s eyes widened. My heart turned up the bass.

“No.....Nathan wouldn’t do that to me, he said he loves me!” Terry whimpered about a second away from bawling.

Melanie shook her head.

“It was....Joel.”

I already knew the math. I knew that out of the four guys here (Joel, Nathan, Dean, and Zach-Wendy’s current bf) only Joel was left. But hearing the name out loud, it stuck a big fat period on the end of my relationship. Even if we did somehow manage to stay together (odds were low at this point) he would have to deal with the “little bundle of joy” and all the complications that came with it. That, or deal with consequences of abortion to Melanie’s father. (edit this metaphor) I slid down to the bottom of the floor, letting the cold tile reach up and try to eat away the hot tears falling down my face. My body felt numb, I felt like I stayed in that bathroom for days. Simply floating above my body not looking or feeling anything-even though it was just a couple of seconds.

Then I could feel it. It began as a warm flush that fluttered up my chest then gathered into a large tight coil -like the spring in a gun. Then, boom. I flew out the door in full Snooki mode-though I think this was more than that. Possibly Mel Gibson size- or f**k even BP oil spill size. Regardless I flew outta that bathroom like a freight train steaming full speed up to Melanie and cocked back my arm like a sling shot and slapped her right in the face.

(Side note: In my younger days I played little league softball. I was the star pitcher. In my prime I could throw close to 65 mph. People always said I was strong for my age. So I knew that when I hit her it hurt like hell.)

Melanie actually flew back a little bit from the blow, looking shocked at first then seeing my face her expression shifted from surprise to straight up horror.

“Rebbecca!” she gasped, along with Wendy and Terry.

“Damn straight you f*****g w***e!” I said going up to her and smacking her shoulder,

“You- f*****g- slept- with- my- boyfriend

    Upon uttering this last word I broke down and fell to the floor sobbing. Terry came over and hugged me saying,
    “Look Rebbecca everything’s gonna be OK.”
    I wailed. “How is this gonna be ok, not only did my boyfriend and my best friend sleep together, but on top of that she’s PREGNANT”.
    I had fallen from a love-sick puppy dog to the cheated on mutt, thrown out in the dumpster left to rot and die. So much for happiness.
    “Rebecca, he’s a guy it’s what all guys want,” Wendy said.
    I turned to her and said, “What did you sleep with him too?”
    Wendy scoffed at me. “Please I have at least some decency....” she turned her back and mumbled “...not that I haven’t tried.”
    Under normal circumstances I would have smacked her but considering I just let it go.
    Melanie came up to me, crouching down to my eye level and said,
    “Rebbecca, please it wasn’t our fault, we were drunk.”
    “Sure,” I moaned, “just because Jamie Foxx said it makes it ok!”
    Wendy rolled her eyes. While Melanie kept on talking,
    “I’m serious it was that damn Jose Cuervvo again,” she pleaded.
    I sighed. Melanie and Jose never mixed well. The first time she tried it, she ended up wrapped around a toilet bowl muttering about how much she loved the aftertaste before up-chucking the rest of the night.
    “It doesn’t change the fact that you slept with him...not that you’ll need a reminder,” I said motioning towards her stomach.

At that point Melanie hit her limit. Que: waterworks. While I watched Melanie unleash an intricate light-up fountain display (complete with doses of self-loathing) down the side of her cheeks with Terry and Wendy soon joining.

I tried to calm down. I repressed my inner Snooki hoping my team of producers could reign me in before I had another episode. I glanced over in the mirror hanging on the wall. I looked mildly insane. All my delicate primping undone in seconds. Not that it mattered anymore anyways. Apparently it didn’t prevent Joel from cheating (w/ Jose’s help) in the first place. Then again, perhaps Joel knew exactly what he was doing. Reality star training?

Despite all the drama I didn’t blame Melanie. She was my best friend I would forgive her. I would have to, after her father found out. She needed me now more than ever. I thought of the life growing in her belly and then something strange happened. I was jealous. Jealous that Melanie had taken away my precious moments with Joel and now had something that would bond them together forever (no matter if she got an abortion or not).

I wiped the tears from my streaked eyes and went over to Melanie and said

“I’m sorry...,” my voice cracking as I did. She looked up at me through her tear-stained eyes and nodded.

Just then, the screen door slid open and Nathan walked in. He stopped a moment staring at the scene of crying girls before him and was mid-pivot when I shouted,


He flinched and slowly turned around, eyes filled with apprehension (he knew all about my Snooki moments).

“What’s up girls? You just watch the end of The Notebook or something?” Nathan laughed weakly.

I narrowed my eyes and pointed towards Melanie.

“Do you know anything about this?” I asked.

“What are you talking about,” Nathan replied.

“Do you know anything about this,” I said gesturing towards Melanie’s belly.

Nathan paused a moment staring at Melanie, then towards the rest of us gathering evidence.

“Mel’s diet isn’t working out?”

I ran over and smacked him.

“Ow,” he said rubbing his head, “so it’s obviously not that, then what?”

Melanie looked up at him with teary eyes and said,

“Nathan I’m pregnant.”

Nathan’s eyes went wide. “What! Are you serious?...damn I didn’t think Dean had it in him.”

I smacked him before Melanie could blush.

“Jesus Rebbecca, easy with those hands, with that temper you’re gonna burn down a house one of these days.”

“It wasn’t Dean,” I retorted.

“Hahaha yea right, as if anyone else was gonna tap that, unless....s**t-” He pointed towards Melanie, “-You’re the Cuervo Crazy!”

    Melanie went white, Wendy raised an eyebrow, Terry gasped, and I smacked Dean again.
    “What the hell is the Cuervo Crazy?” I asked.  
    “I don’t know”
    “What do you mean you don’t know? You just said you did!” I said.
    “Well I really don’t know......I mean I did know......but not really.”

I raised my arm to smack him again when Wendy interrupted me.

“It’s their system.”

Nathan turned towards her “You know-”

“Please,” Wendy said, “you boys think you’re the only ones to talk about the girls you f**k behind our backs? Get real.”

Nathan sighed, while Wendy continued.

“Most men, or boys in this case, like to gossip about us girls as much as we do about them. Some aren’t filtered at all while others tend to be a bit more discrete. Right Nathan?”

He nodded.

“It was a couple of weeks ago. Joel and I are at the gym and he mentions sober hooking up with this girl who was totally trashed on tequila. I ignored it at the time, figuring it was another one of his reality star hook-ups-”

He looked down at Melanie’s belly,

“-I guess not.”


I’ll take this moment to fast-forward through all the crying, hugging, and other sentimental moments because it can get really boring and repetitive.  

Now I am sitting curled around a bar stool staring into a large frosty glass of Mike’s Hard Lemonade hoping that it can provide the answers to the many riddles of life. Instead of being forthcoming it just sits there and condensates. My mind is moving a million miles an hour and in every direction. But really I am thinking of what will happen when I see Joel. Joel. My stomach churns in disgust. It’s amazing what a pregnancy will do to your feelings for a guy.

Nathan is talking to Melanie with Terry hanging close by. He still looked frazzled from the ambush (is that bruise on his arm from me?)  but in my medical opinion I think he made it through the evening unscathed. Joel on the other hand would be in for a surprise.

In order to help distract me I was absently glancing over my copy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was one of my personal favorites. Lisbeth Salander was one of the most refreshing, empowering, and generally BAMF characters in modern fiction these days. Compared to her Snooki looked like a toddler. I knew what Lisbeth would do to Joel. She would drag his sorry a*s through the mud making sure he never had a reality career at all. She would probably castrate him too. In the end she would make sure that he owned up for his mistake and either pay for the abortion or take care of the baby.

Regardless, I still felt cheated. The fact that Joel wasn’t drunk when he was with Melanie still stung. It was if he took a knife, heated it over a fire, and stabbed/seared the s**t out of my self-worth. Anger built in my stomach. I could waves of rage wash over me. Deep down in the pit of my stomach a wildfire was raging. As I flipped through chapters absentmindedly, I thought more and more of the confrontation to come. The flames began to lick the edge of my stomach. Sweat dripped, my breath became short and shallow. Colors swam in front of my face. The edges of my vision began to go black....

“Hahahhahah,” Joels laugh echoed from behind me. I turned to see Dean, Zach, and him coming up from the beach. He looked at me and smiled. His reality star smile......

The book in my hand burst into flames.

Zach and Dean shouted, “Rebbecca your hand! Your hand is on fire!”

I looked down. My hand was on fire. Oddly, the flames didn’t hurt, they felt cool, like something had finally been released. Stig Larsson’s bestseller ,on the other hand, had crumbled into ashes and now my throwing hand was engulfed within an orange blaze. Wendy, Terry, and Melanie screamed. Nathan ran towards the bathroom, looking for towels. Joel just stood there staring at me, his reality star smile still plastered on his face. I cant believe I fell for that face, I thought. That lying, cheating, spray-tanned b*****d face, that’s going to be a father with my best friend. In that moment, all I wanted was to see him suffer, to feel the pain he had caused me, to burn. The flames, as if sensing my rage, spread like a phoenix opening its wings. Soon the entire bar was on fire (a waste), then the kitchen, then most of the living room. Somewhere, I could hear my friends shouting my name, telling me to get out, my eyes tearing with smoke, then a strong arm grabbing my waist and pulling me out. But all I saw was Joel, surrounded by flames little orange demons of fury. My fury.

Then like any good girl at beach week, I blacked out.




© 2012 Jason Galliger

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Added on November 15, 2012
Last Updated on November 15, 2012


Jason Galliger
Jason Galliger

Fairfax, VA

Hi I'm Jason a young writer from Virginia. I've been writing poetry and short stories for years. However, I've only shared my work with a small circle of friends and family. I hope to be published one.. more..