Never Full by Amanda Rosenblatt

Alice perused the racks of the vintage store with her eyes. This was a weekly ritual.

Garbage. Garbage. Smells like garbage. Who would wear THAT?

Alice loved dressing up fancy for work. Having a job with a formal dress code basically required it. She loved having an excuse to fully embrace her hobby of admiring fine clothing. It was a rush.

Plaid? Pleather? Puce? Why does horrible looking clothing start with the letter P?

Usually, Alice would be shopping with friends. Or out with her husband.

You never have money to go out to eat, or even get a damned coffee, with us. Maybe you don’t need another dress, or another pair of boots? But they were vintage Louboutin and Chanel – what do those tasteless bitches know?

She gazed upon the fabrics, textures and different colors. Sunlight peaked in through the stained window, magnifying the scuffs on the leather and the lint on the old blouses.

A spider’s web in the corner peaked out from behind the racks. Waiting to devour their next victim, likely a stowaway moth from an old pocket.

You paid two thousand dollars for a jacket?! That’s our rent money. You’re out of control. Well that’s fine – I can wear that jacket in the cold now that I live with my sister, since I have a longer walk to work now. Who needs a husband when you have original Dior?

What was really missing was a nice handbag. She could drown her sorrows in a nice, new-to-her leather piece. Then, as if she dreamed it into existence, she saw it. A Louis Vuitton Neverfull in near perfect condition.

She picked up the bag by the thin but worthy straps. It could fit everything she needed for work. Her magazines for the salon. All of her divorce papers.

She briefly felt sad, but she shook it off as she searched for more telltale signs to make sure the bag was authentic. It had an odd smell and even more unusual stains on the inside, but she dismissed it. She could get it cleaned, or cover it up.

She brought the bag to the front register. A few hundred out of her price range.

The nerve! This place is barely better than a Goodwill. After all the money I’ve given them! I’ll show them.

She walked to the back of the store where they had men’s items. She grabbed a Fjällräven backpack that was in less than perfect condition, took a quick peek around, and shoved the Louis Vuitton inside the backpack. She grabbed tissue paper that was inside of the leather bag originally and placed it over top to cover up her stolen goods.

A low, piercing tone hit Alice’s ears. She groaned and put a hand to her head. The sound dissipated and she caught her breath.

That was weird. Must be tinnitus or a low flying plane? Whatever. Am I really about to steal a bag? Well, I’m paying for this other piece of crap bag, so they’re getting my money anyway.

She rung up the backpack and she smirked as the trusting, older woman who checked her out didn’t bother to look inside the bag.

Suckers.

When Alice walked out of the store, her leather heels hitting the cement with purpose, she made sure she was out of eyesight of the store front. She then stopped at a metal trash barrel, pulled her stolen goods out of the backpack, then swiftly tossed the perfectly good fabric accomplice in the garbage.

You could donate that or something? Fuck you! Mind your business.

Six blocks later and she was home. Home being her sister’s apartment.

I’m willing to put you up for a couple of months, but if you keep buying shit you don’t need, you can go call mom and live in the suburbs. I don’t care.

Alice pulled the murphy bed out from the wall and sat down on it, the metal squeaking viciously. She unzipped her leather heels and placed them gingerly next to the edge of the bed on the floor. She walked over to her plastic tub of drawers and pulled out a little vial of red nail polish, with the intention of covering the scratches in her Louboutin fiery red heels, courtesy of the ground.

After placing the nail polish bottle on the floor next to the shoes, Alice then grabbed her contraband purse. She sat on the bed once again, placing the new bag to her right and her old bag to her left. She looked over at her old purse, unzipping it and grabbing contents from inside. She turned her head to her right to place the items inside.

Where’s the fucking bag?

She looked around. She heard a quick scratching noise across the old hardwood floor.

What is that, a rat?! This place is a dump. Probably grabbed my bag.

Alice scanned in front of her, looking for clues. The irony that a rodent absconded with her stolen bag made her fume with anger.

She then placed her right elbow on the bed, bending her body forward to look underneath. It was remarkably dark. The piercing tonal noise happened again. Alice grunted, shoving her head against her leg and putting her left hand against the other side of her skull, covering her left ear.

Then, from the darkness, two leather straps with gold hardware on the ends reached out like tentacles. They wrapped around her bare ankles, over and over, digging into her flesh. Alice screamed in terror and pain.

YANK. Alice went flying face first into the floor from the force of it, her nose hitting the hardwood. She looked up briefly with just enough time to see a single drop of blood from her nose drip onto the ground.

She was then dragged across the floor. She turned on her back to find something, anything, to grab onto.

This isn’t happening. What is this?!

As she peered under the bed, grabbed the metal legs of it to try and free herself of her unseen attacker, she caught sight of it.

This is a dream. What is this? God please help me!

The bag was sentient. The leather body of the bag opened like a gaping mouth. Rows of jagged teeth inside. A manufactured Venus fly trap from hell.

Alice’s hands shook as she strained to hold on.

Wake up. Wake up. WAKE UP.

A guttural growl emitted from the creature, sending one more tonal pierce in the air. It was too much. Alice let go of the bed. She was pulled into the mouth of the beast. Teeth ripping into her body. Alice was horrifyingly aware of her last moments. The bags flappy leather body formed lips, scooping up the contents of Alice as it devoured her. Leaving no trace behind.

Then, like a fleeting memory, Alice was gone. Silence replaced the screaming.

A few minutes later, keys unlocked and opened the door. Alice’s sister entered. She surveyed the scene and let out an annoyed huff. She walked over to the leather boots and picked up the little bottle of red polish. She looked at the single drop of blood on the floor.

“This bitch moves into MY place and gets polish all over MY floor?!”

She then saw the purse, laying on the floor under the bed. Her eyes squinted in anger. She grabbed the bag, stuffed the shoes and the nail polish inside, walked down the stairs, into the cold alley and tossed it all into the filthy dumpster.

And alas, an alley dumpster was the final resting place of fashionable Alice, whose appetite for finer things was never full.

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