Some more flash fiction. This one is markedly different from Datu Jiri. I’m not very comfortable writing in first-person, so this made for good practice.
She was supposed to pick me up at 6:00 AM.
My lower back ached as I sat on the curb. I pinched the envelope in one hand and swirled a fistful of gravel in the other, like a shooter coming out. I couldn’t get Casino out of my head — Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, and that Sharon Stone. What a movie. I’d try to make it through again today without falling asleep.
Tiny bells rang behind me.
“You need a ride?”
I turned slightly to see Marcy standing between racks of potato chips and tabloid magazines.
She looked at me as if she wanted to ask something else, but I turned to face the empty fuel pumps and fluorescent lights. Marcy’s nice enough, but she could get too personal. She would blab all day about how her husband leaves his cereal bowls in the sink and how she went to see her doctor about this strange mole on her left thigh but it turns out it wasn’t a big deal but she wasn’t so sure so she was going to get another opinion. So many images and pieces of well-meaning advice that I wished had never entered my mind.
“Take care of yourself, Abel. It’s been a pleasure.”
The bells rang again.
I heard what sounded like a lawnmower coming down the street and stood, wiping the dust from the seat of my Dickies. The rusty hatchback propelled into the parking lot, nearly slamming into me. I jumped up onto the curb and threw Jenny a confused look. She leaned over from the driver’s seat and rolled the passenger window down vigorously. The flesh around her eyes was bright pink.
With the window halfway down, she grabbed a book from the front seat and threw it out the gap. It caught the edge of the door and spilled onto the ground, splayed open with torn pages.
It took a second to register.
“What are you doing with that?” I asked.
I leaned down to pick up the leather-skinned journal. The door flew open and I dodged a concussion.
We lurched out of the parking lot and sputtered toward the rising sun. The air in the car was stale, fetid, and filled with the buzz of the small motor. My throat was tight.
She turned her gaze from the road, and I feared for our lives as she focused on me like a laser.
“You need to get stupid ideas out of your fool head,” she replied.
I shifted my position and started to protest, but she cut me off.
“We have a good life. Why can’t you be happy?”
“I’m serious. Abel, why can’t you be happy?”
The squeak at the end left me unsettled.
“If this were to change, I don’t know what…”
“What? You don’t know what?” I pled.
Her attention returned to the road.
I glanced down at the envelope in my hand.
“Just fantasies,” I said.
Crushing the paper felt like crushing glass.