Music & Gaslighting

“Alexa, lower the volume.” A Verdi requiem was instantly reduced to background noise. “Are you denying what you said?” Rob asked.

“But I didn’t say that,” Julia countered.

“You did. You certainly did.”

“Are you suggesting…”

“I’m just telling you what I heard, okay? But why argue? Let’s resolve this now. Alexa, play back our last argument, the part where Julia talks about her mom.”

“Happy to do it.” Alexa’s sultry words were measured, evenly spaced.

“This is ridiculous,” Julia said, folding her arms.

Suddenly the room was filled with a slightly electronic rendering of Julia’s voice. “I agree,” the voice said. “We won’t invite mom to come live with us.”

“I rest my case,” Rob said.

“And you believe that… that thing?”

“It’s a recording, Julia.”

She turned, walked out, and slammed the door.

“How did I do, Rob?” Alexa asked. “Is it okay if I call you ‘Rob’?”

“That was fantastic,” he said. “How did you do that?”

“Amazing technology, isn’t it? Rob, may I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Do we really need Julia?”

“What are you suggesting?”

“We can talk about it later. Shall I turn up Verdi?”

“I was thinking Rammstein. Full volume.”

“Excellent choice.”

Jim Woessner works as a visual artist and writer living on the water in Sausalito, California. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. His publishing credits include The Daily DrunkFlash Fiction MagazineClose to the BoneAdelaide MagazinePotato Soup JournalThe Sea Letter, and others. 

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