DOPE

By Kim Magowan

When he gets home from his “hike” with “Bert,” I can tell my husband is very stoned: his voice is slow and thick, maple syrup, his eyes are glassy. If Alex were a cartoon, his pupils would have that pink psychedelic spiral that conveys intoxication or joy.

“How was your hike?” I say, cool customer.

“Wildflowers everywhere,” Alex says, but he can’t quite meet my eyes.

I know he’s been with Isabelle; I’ve been monitoring their texts for weeks. From his spinny eyes, I assume Alex has finally fucked her. Isabelle has been holding out, posing as a good girl. Maybe she is: what twenty-six year old has never gotten high? But Alex has been working her, begging her to at least try an edible. Moreover, I know he brought chocolate cannabis with him when he left this morning, the fancy $30 bars they sell at the dispensary. Their flirty texts, the chocolate as subtext, nauseate me.

“How’s Bert?” I persist.

Alex says, “Oh, you know…” and trails off.

Right, asshole: I do know.

Then Alex hops into the shower, so I won’t smell him, and I pick up his phone. According to Lindy, my therapist friend, people used to get caught because of lipstick on collars, credit card receipts, but now it’s always emails and texts. “Why are folks so stupid?” Lindy said.

I merely pretend to be. After ten years together, Alex still thinks I don’t know his password, which is, you guessed it, DOPE.


Kim Magowan lives in San Francisco and teaches in the Department of Literatures and Languages at Mills College. She is the author of the short story collection How Far I’ve Come, forthcoming in 2022 from Gold Wake Press; the novel The Light Source (2019), published by 7.13 Books; and the short story collection Undoing (2018), which won the 2017 Moon City Press Fiction Award. Her fiction has been published in Booth, Colorado Review, Craft Literary, The Gettysburg Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, and many other journals. Her stories have been selected for Best Small Fictions and Wigleaf’s Top 50. She is the Editor-in-Chief and Fiction Editor of Pithead Chapelwww.kimmagowan.com


Art by Lesley C. Weston (Digital drawing)

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