Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Maria's Misfortune" - Kaili van Waveren

This may be one of the shortest stories in the debut issue of Murdaland, but if anything it's all the snappier for it. Maria's Misfortune is a classic single-scene short; coke addict goes over to another couple of junkies' house where a second junkie visitor ODs.

A fairly standard setup, but what sets this story apart from a lot of others that have used it is the sense of realism in the relationship between the three main characters. Anyone who's spent any time with addicts should recognise the interplay and the sense that none of these people actually like one another; they're not friends, they're just a circle of other addicts who hang out together because one of them will have a fix they can all share.

When the Maria of the title goes comatose and Maggie, the narrator, is urging them to get her to the ER, the dealer amongst them robs what money he can find on her to pay for the coke she's just ODed on, for instance. And by the time they reach the hospital, it's plain that they care less and less about her, even the reasonably straight Maggie. No friends, just the dope.

Good stuff.

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