Welcome back to Stranger Than Flicktion, our Flickr-inspired fiction column. We provide writers with five random food-related Flickr images and ask them to construct a fictional short story in under five days. Today we meet a martini drinker with a few things to get off her chest.
Sometimes, you've got to reach for those bottom drawer olives. The tinned ones suspended in brine.
I will tell you a secret: it can be a secret to be mean. The martini drinker knows this. The martini drinker also knows how much you should be spending on sheets and whether or not you should visit Lisbon this year.
The martini drinker is an excellent house guest. She makes herself useful and sparse. She is a slimline that can be slipped behind the curtains, where she will wait quietly and often for hours; emerging at just the right moment in a fluid and non-accusatory manner. "I must have gotten turned around!" she will announce, giggling in a high-pitched and unpleasant way. She knows exactly when to leave.
Dirt is so often attributed to sex but in the case of the martini, it is allied with grime.
The martini drinker is fluid in Latin, which is a dead language. The martini drinker finds beauty in death though knows how crass others may well find this. She buys herself flowers, enjoying them only when the petals have crisped and fallen to the ground. She collects them in her palm. Her favourite Instagram filter is Clarendon because it makes everything look dry.
The martini drinker makes a list of her life. Good. Bad. Neutral. She longs for something to set her heart on fire: like a telephone table or a really nice armchair.
She enjoys housework, the innocent optimism of the domestic sphere. She would like to connect with nature. She took up gardening for a short spell and also canoeing. Though she never quite mastered the greenlandic roll.
Martini is made with gin and vermouth, which is a clear, fortified wine.
She likes to drink olive brine straight from the can. She likes it when the olives bump against her teeth.
Olives are her favourite food. She likes their coy sheen and their flesh firm and certain beneath it. She sometimes stirs them into pasta or tosses them in a salad, but she enjoys them most pierced and balanced across a cocktail top.
The martini drinker feels it is important to have your heart broken. To get to know the corners of yourself. She enjoys the company of others who have suffered this too.
Mornings are when the martini drinker is at her least self-critical. At night, she has to take supplemental melatonin to help her fall asleep.
She wears white but not because she associates it with purity. Frankly, she thinks, it is asking for it.
The martini drinker worries about internal fat though her blood pressure is fine.
She had her first martini cocktail some years ago. Separately, she found gin and vermouth not particularly enjoyable. Gin, too bitter. Vermouth, too much like medicine. But swirled together, they seemed to cancel each other out and it was not unlike drinking a heavy sort of water. I could get used to this, she thought, and almost immediately she did.
The martini drinker cannot stand greasy food.
The martini drinker had a husband once but she doesn't anymore.
The martini drinker worries martinis are no longer in vogue, like Chinese food or cats.
The martini used to worry she had something to get out—some railing, writhing, libidinous thing. She tried to get it out with sex. She tried to get it out with exercise. One time, she tried to get it out with screaming, pulling down her window and howling into the night. Unable to get something out, she vouched instead, to get something in. Something to poison whatever it was inside. And so, she started drinking. And it helped.
The martini drinker removes all the lampshades from her lamps. She doesn't want anything that might disturb the light. Every morning, she pulls back the curtains and bathes in the sunshine.
The martini drinker hates her arms. She hates her elbows. She hates her throat.
The martini drinker hates her body. She hates her body to the grave.