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The Black Girl Best Friends at the Survivors Party

Issue 122, Fall 2023

Illustration by Monet Alyssa

 

EXT. YOUR BASIC-ASS SUBURBAN SLASHER HOUSE—NIGHT

KARLA (Brandy), DONNA (Nia Long), & HALLIE (Elise Neal) approach the house. There’s a party inside. KARLA pauses in the middle of the walkway, the other two behind her. Three white girls crash through upper-story windows simultaneously & hit the ground in ceremonious showers of glass; two of them are Sarah Michelle Gellar.

HALLIE

(to Karla)

Move your ass, okay? You’re late.

DONNA

Late? You’re always late. There’s nothin new.

Loretta Devine walks out the front door with a plate of finger foods in one hand & a gun in the other, waving at them with her pinkie as she passes, chewing.

KARLA

You know what, I have an idea: why don’t we all—

DONNA

(stomps out her cigarette & kicks the butt into the grass)

I’m right here with you.


INT. HOUSE PARTY

The three stand together in the foyer, staring into the party. The music is Garbage. Tony Todd dances with himself in a hallway mirror, humming “Return of the Mack.” In the living room, Virginia Madsen stages La Pietà in a recliner, her tears wetting the cheekbones of Linda Blair. Patricia Arquette stands behind them holding a wrinkled sheet of paper; between poses the three workshop her acceptance speech / a White Women’s Bill of Rights.

DONNA

Somebody needs to tell me what’s going on.

KARLA

What the hell would you call this?

HALLIE

It’s a party. Free beer? Meet the girls?

They look up. On the ceiling, scrawled in burnt sage ash: KASI LEMMONS / THIS.

KARLA

Aint nothin free in this world. Everybody says it, and it’s true.

DONNA

I don’t understand.

HALLIE

It’s a sorority.

DONNA

I don’t understand why there’s so much blood.

Somebody’s phone bleats the audio of Jennifer Love Hewitt yelling “what are you waiting for, huh?” on loop; it’s an alarm. Jennifer Love Hewitt pulls a crabmeat meatloaf outta the oven, drowns it in cocktail sauce, & sticks a birthday candle in it. Rebecca Gayheart approaches the crab cake with a blowtorch & a can of hair spray.

KARLA

We gotta get the fuck outta here.

DONNA

(somehow smoking a J already)

Do you smell flowers in here or something? It smells like jasmine or hyacinth or something.

KARLA

What’d I say?

HALLIE

“Stupid people go back, okay? Smart people run. We’re smart people, so we should just get the fuck outta here.”

DONNA

It’s Friday night. I think you’re taking things a little too seriously. Where you goin?

KARLA

(backing toward the door)

I don’t wanna be the one to say I told you so.

HALLIE

(waving brightly at random final girls)

I just think, despite its trivialities, it is a life-affirming, mentally stable, healthy environment for you—

DONNA

You’re so dramatic.

HALLIE

I’m her therapist. I mean, look at this freakin place.

Neve Campbell descends the stairs with a potted cactus in each arm; slung over her shoulders & crisscrossing her back are an assault rifle & an umbrella. She walks into the thick of the party, where the flaming crab cake is being presented to an excited Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s still having her face applied by Heather Langenkamp.

KARLA

The fuck are you talkin about? Man, this classifies as a fuckin emergency.

DONNA

I’m gonna take you home now, okay? You are gonna drive yourself crazy.

KARLA

Nobody thinks you’re crazy.

HALLIE

It’s okay to break. Just lower the walls for the next few days, okay? This self-induced isolation you got going? It’s not healthy.

KARLA

Oh, girl. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m made of steel.

KARLA keeps backpedaling until she walks completely through the storm door à la Michael Myers in Halloween II. More glass.

DONNA

(momentarily resembling the Nia Long of Soul Food: one cocked eyebrow & also a hairdresser)

You look like shit. You’ve got stuff all in your hair. I just wanna get you home.

KARLA

am holding your hand.



Excerpted from
 With Bloom Upon Them and Also With Blood: A Horror Miscellany, which will be published on Halloween 2023 by Coffee House Press. The characters Karla, Hallie, and Donna appear in the films I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Scream 2 (1997), and Stigmata (1999), respectively.





Justin Phillip Reed

Justin Phillip Reed is an American writer and amateur bass guitarist whose preoccupations include horror cinema, ideological failure, and uses of the grotesque. He is the author of two poetry collections, The Malevolent Volume (2020) and Indecency (2018), both published by Coffee House Press. His hybrid collection, With Bloom Upon Them and Also with Blood: A Horror Miscellany, will be released in fall 2023. Born and raised in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, he participates in alternative rock music cultures, ogles Toyota Tacomas, and enjoys smelling like outside.