It’s another Tuesday Flash Fiction Tidbit! Loving this new idea!
Tapping into my completely nonsense yet somehow discomforting dreams is paying off!
It clicked on in a hot-blue haze, like the one you see at the end of a long asphalt road in the summer, a wavy sort of mirage in the distance, dancing with the breeze of the heat. She inhaled quickly and glanced back at the road, glad to see no cars in the distance on the other side of the road.
She had always hated this two lane backwoods windy piece of shit road in the winter, though she couldn’t deny the views to the side rolling through the hills were almost slightly worth not being bitter about it. Almost.
The taste of the nicotine and tar swirling around her mouth made her feel more comfortable, the wheeze growing in her chest and the pressure in her head from a half pack of cigarettes too much both more inviting than a neighbor with a welcome-to-town-bottle of wine.
‘Sure we can be friends now that we are neighbors, just keep bringing me free booze’.
Keena always thought it was really stupid and flashy to do things like that, give the newcomers in your community your oldest or most expensive bottle of Chardonnay or Bourbon. Keena actually respected the lazy ones in the neighborhood, or on holidays, or your birthday, that gave you the really cheap, this-definitely-came-from-a-gas station-on-the-way-over-here, bottle of alcohol. Those were the keepers, those people went through a lot to get that, being so lazy and all.
Keena looked in her rearview mirror and checked the miles of hills behind her, and in front of her, no one. This was also very comforting.
You see in the winter on Highway 11 if there were two lanes of traffic flowing you had to get over in the snow and ice half of the lane because for some reason they only like to clear half of each lane in her very safety-driven county.
Now that she had the asphalt to herself, she rode over to the middle, her tires bumping slightly as she passed over the middle line.
Her cigarette burnt her lip as she puffed in and dialed her cell phone, the main reason she wanted to be sure the road was clear for a few miles. The cigarette stump fell to her lap and she brushed it away quickly, careful not to burn another hole in his new car.
She dialed his number quickly, anxious to see where he was and how his under-the-table work for his boss went today.
Keena glanced up at the road, positioned her knees to do the driving, and pressed call.
One ring, she glanced up again. Nothing still.
Two rings, rear view was clear.
‘Hello?’ His voice was oddly husky. Deeper than she remembered, she thought.
‘Hey babe I’m just off of 11 heading back your way, where are you?’ Keena tried to sound chipper and polite even though she knew they left in an argument. Nothing important, of course, it never was. It was always just words meant to be mean in the moment of a disagreement. They were rare now, she tried to bounce back quickly anytime it happened.
‘Who the hell is this?’ He wasn’t mad, he didn’t sound like he was joking, he sounded like was genuinely curious. He sounded shocked.
‘Um…me? Keena? Are you drunk?’She laughed nervously, hoping he really wasn’t that belligerently shitfaced yet, especially right after a day of work she hoped was good.
‘Keena?’ His voice cracked in a million different directions, some took on sadness, others anger, others desperation. What was this? ‘Keena?!’
‘Yes, I mean I told you I would call on my way home so I ju…’
‘Keena, what the fuck do you think you are doing calling me now? Why now? Where in the hell did you go?!’. You could almost feel the spit and rage shooting out of his mouth now.
She couldn’t really find words to say. She choked out a confused grumble.
‘Nine fucking years later, here she comes, she must have a great explanation for disappearing for all those years! I have a family now, you know. I waited and I waited and I fucking waited Keena. Nine goddamn years.’
Just then she heard a honking in the distance and glanced up for what felt like the first time in minutes.
Too quickly she saw it ahead, too quickly his words were ringing in her ears. She was crashing.