And you suddenly get why adrenaline junkies chase this rush by Abby Alten Schwartz

Runner Up - The 2024 We Love Short Shorts Contest

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
abstract image of purple and blue lights

You’re on your knees, breathing hard, heel of one hand against the center of his chest, gripped by the other hand. The voice on your phone says, You’re going to push hard two beats per second. You flash to The Office, when they learn CPR to the tune of Stayin’ Alive, Michael Scott asking, How many is that per hour? Jim asking, How’s that gonna help you? Michael saying, I will divide and then count to it. On Grey’s, compressions are violent, ribs get cracked, you may need to crack some eggs to make this omelet. You yell, Count with me! and the voice calls out, fast: One, two, three, four… You’re pressing hard, in the zone, panting, manic, like Mel Gibson on that tape. When you reach the high 90s, the police take over, and you must look wild-eyed because your neighbor keeps asking, Do you need juice? because surely your blood sugar was burning fast and she knows things, she’s a nurse, so when she knocks the next morning to say there was nothing you could do, your neighbor’s heart was gone before you got there, something inside will loosen. But right now your veins are live wires, thoughts bouncing like kernels in a hot pan. Hours later, back home, your street is dark, EMS long gone with the body. You’ve slammed two drinks but adrenaline still floods you, keeps the sadness distant, and for a ghoulish split second you finally get the lure of this electrifying high.


Meet the Contributor

Abby Alten Schwartz Abby Alten Schwartz is a Philadelphia writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, HAD, HuffPost, Salon, Brevity blog, The Belladonna Comedy, and elsewhere. She works as a healthcare writer and journalist, and is currently writing a memoir. Abby’s literary writing has won Best Creative Nonfictionand was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Find her on social media @abbys480, on Substack at Name Three Things and at

  7 comments for “And you suddenly get why adrenaline junkies chase this rush by Abby Alten Schwartz

Share a Comment