|Ericka Duffy, The Succubus
Cover by Ericka Duffy and Jonathan Prior
Annika absentmindedly inspects the tear in the center of the cushion. She
trails her fingernails down it, feeling, abstractly, as though the vinyl is skin, and the sponge inside guts, when she notices a crumpled piece of paper wedged down the side of the booth. She pries it out. It resembles a white carnation before she smoothes the page against the tabletop.
It’s a high school assignment, belonging to one of the teenage boys who come in after school. They swarm the place at about ten to four. They order donuts and coffee. They pluck their cigarette packs from the back pockets of their jeans and throw them on the table, various brands on display, like they’re place markers. They’ll do the same with car keys in a year or so. They cause her no trouble, none at all. And they’re the ones who put quarters in the tabletop Pac-Man machine, which sits in the corner, near the washrooms.