The Exquisite Redemption of Miss Colleen Burton (Part 10)


The following is a HEAVEmedia experiment in writing a novella in public. Read on, join us, and so forth.

If you missed our first post, here’s a quick primer on what it is that we’re doing here. Go back and read that, though, because this isn’t going to make a ton of sense otherwise.

Five writers from Chicago, each with their own unique perspectives, will attempt to write a cohesive novella twice a week over the next several months with no knowledge of where the story is going until each consecutive piece is posted here on Heave. Each new part will be posted every Tuesday and Friday, with the writing duties being carried out in a standard batting order fashion (once the end of the batting order is reached, it starts from the top). At the end of each installment, the writer of said installment will introduce a caveat, or an obstruction, that must be adhered to by the following writer in the next written installment.

Now, the writers wanted to take this project a step further and involve the readers in the writing process. Heave will be asking the readers of the story to tweet @HEAVEmedia with their own ideas for obstructions. How the writers decide upon which obstructions to use is up to them.

Today’s installment is written by sketch writer Justin Gainer, and the chosen 0bstruction was to include a glimpse into the future.


Colleen set out with one goal this night: to forget.

Forget about Devon.

Forget about Carlo.

Forget about the lies.

Forget about the things she will never get back.

Forget about Barry.


There is always that one friend, that friend you know you can count on to make you completely give up hope for mankind while simultaneously providing you with an absolutely GREAT night (morally crippling you just a little more every time you see their number flashing across your cell phone screen right above, “Ringing…”). That one friend you call when you want to lose yourself, if only for a night, right or wrong. Unfortunately (or, depending on the type of person you are, fortunately), Colleen had one of these friends.


“Heey Mel, it’s me!”



“Col, shit is that you?”

“You know it, girly. Long time no see, beautiful!”

“Oh stop it! You know you’re the good-looking one, that’s why Carlo was always so into you! Where’ve you been? Everyone has been asking about you. Oh, hey, what’s going on with you and ol’ “Cobra” Carlo? He hasn’t been around in a while either.”

“Actually I just talked to him the other day. He broke up with me, though, a few months ago…”

“Oh, he was a prick anyway! Hey! You want to go out?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I just don’t have enough cash to really go out. Thanks though, Melissa, it was good talking to you.”

“No! My treat! Come on, let’s go have some fun tonight!”

“Really, are you sure?”

“Of course! And it’s not like we ever have to pay for more than our first drinks anyway, come on! Pick you up in an hour?”

“That sounds great! See you soon!”

The first time Colleen put something up her nose she was scared. She was scared of crossing that threshold. Once you have committed the act, it can’t just be undone. It stays with you. Not that Colleen ever developed a habit of it. It was just that the next couple of times it was offered, the previous memories helped to calm the voice of restraint and allowed the sound of pure rebellion to pour through.

And. It. Felt. Great.

Tonight was no different. She could always count on Mel for her stability.

Colleen wakes up in a queen-sized bed to herself. The sheets are black silk with a red and black-checkered comforter. She immediately recognizes her surroundings.
Oh no.
She pulls the blankets back and sees she’s still fully dressed. She’s even still wearing the black boots she borrowed from Mel. Colleen lets out one quick sigh of relief. She looks left and sees the alarm clock flashing a bright red “5:35.” She looks right, peering through the half-opened door to see a sleeping Carlo on the front-room couch. At least she knows how her night did not end, and that it’s P.M. and not A.M. on the clock. She lays her pounding head back on the cool, and yet warm, silk pillowcase and starts to piece together her night.
Oh man, what a night.
Oh man.
I really need to apologize.

The girls gallivant into the first bar/club (Mel’s favorite), big-eyed and far too giddy. They weren’t going to let anything ruin their nights. Colleen set out with one goal this night: to forget.