A Friend in Need


It seemed strange, to finally be able to communicate after years of being stuck as a useless receptacle. I wondered if this was what it felt like to be born.

Births, I’d seen a few of them in my time with Johnny. My friend liked the women almost as much as he liked the booze. Like any good man on a bender, he left a string of empties thrown haphazardly behind him.

Despite being a first-class drunk, Johnny still had his boyish good looks – no matter how hard he hit the bottle, leaving broken hearts and new-born babies wherever he went.

When others deserted him, I became Johnny’s best friend. The kind of friend he knew he could say anything to, the kind of friend who would never judge him – could never judge him. With no one else around to listen, I became his support network, the only thing he could rely on.

There were times that I wanted to tell him to stop, to just take a minute to realise what he was doing.

I couldn’t. I never could.

Not until today.

All I remember is a beautiful young woman. Though smiling, I could see such aching sadness in her eyes. She wiped tears away with one hand while stroking my side with the other.


If I could have made a face I would have, but I hoped she understood my question.

“That doesn’t matter,” she replied, taking in a shuddering breath. “I need you to do something for me.”

I was enraptured by her beauty, I would have agreed to anything she’d said. As I listened I knew that I would have done as she asked regardless – Johnny and I had known each other too long for me to stand back and watch him throw what little of his life remained away.

I’d wanted her to stay, yet she dissipated the moment I’d agreed to her request. Her eyes, so grateful, I would remember those eyes for ever.

I hear Johnny attempt to put his key in the front door. I already know just from listening to his failed attempts to disengage the locks to his apartment that he’s been drinking.

I feel empty.

He makes his way through the door, stumbling as he does so. I feel his eyes upon me, seeing relief in those dazed green orbs.

“Jack, there you are,” he slurred, reaching his hand toward me.

Without realising, I moved away from his hand. He looked at me in drunken shock, convinced that the booze had affected his vision somehow.

He reached his hand out again, almost swiping at me. Again I move back, not even aware that I was doing so.

“No more, Johnny. Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

He looked as if he would pick me up and hurl me across the room, yet he was too shocked by my voice to move.

“No more, Johnny. Do it for Franny.”

My words sobered him in an instant.

Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 28 prompt: Your protagonist is an inanimate object granted sentience by a higher power.




Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge, Starting out

10 responses to “A Friend in Need

  1. Ah, Jack Daniels! Clever piece, Heather – and very poignant. Nice execution, as well. Excellent job!

  2. This was really clever! Love it 🙂

  3. Wow, what a powerful story about addiction, Heather. Very clever use of the prompt! And nice work with the Jack Daniels reference! Nice work! TiV

  4. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week Twenty-Eight Submissions (28) | Thain in Vain

  5. Meg

    Great take on the prompt, Heather. Interesting that the bottle nearly sacrifices itself for the good of Johnny.

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