​       “How about a kiss?” she asked.  Her eyebrows didn’t raise but the laughter reflected in her eyes in the sunlight showing his eyes in hers the pupil just dead in the center not circular ovular without a hint of dilation to any of his responses the irises immaculate.  She might as well have used an emoji or shortened text message to magnify the minimalism.  She handed him a Hershey.

“You know what they say about love and chocolate.  And I’m definitely not sure how well it goes with beer.  Maybe I shouldn’t take any chances and just let them come to me.”

They were adjacent to each other at a black foldout table the chairs the same color except for the damage left by the cats.  He holds a can of Natural Light in one hand and a pink fly swatter she gave him in the other.  He watches as one fly circles the bong landing on the latest issue from Tulane (he didn’t know how they kept getting alumni addresses) but he thinks of Bukowski and laughs at the cover.  It portrays what you have to fill in with your imagination a woman’s face the lips present a black bowler hat for the head even a monocle piece for the eye but the face isn’t there and sometimes he has to wonder as a fly lands on the cover what he’s really trying to kill—the pesky fly or what it lands on.

She already knew the poem about it they already had a history with it he didn’t have to tell her she picked the color but he didn’t care much about Bach or what he did between what to do and what he had to do that really didn’t matter the thing is he did it and others felt compelled to write about it maybe even another poem and maybe that was what was most important and the words that came out to convince it just left out the more it said and anyway it’s forgotten anyway with each new buzz the eye following it the inevitable swat.  Besides she was a liar and anything she had to say about it was bound to come out backwards.

Call her Sue.  His name Rich.  Sue was looking for a new car (preferably used) using the LG G3 he got her on his plan and the Wi-Fi of his home.  He let her do the search for he knew she was much better at it.  He could talk and she would listen but after her question about the kiss the look in her eye the smile in the question he knew a question like that had no answer and all his words were useless.  So he accepted the chocolate and took a picture of her with his phone doing her search.  The can of Natural Light on the corner of the black table with its condensation the Dixie plate of marijuana and the blue glass speckled bong just seen in the other corner of the picture she appeared concentrated over the phone in an Old Navy t-shirt and a pink bandanna on her head her arms in a graceful bend as she leaned forward elbows resting on the foldout table.  Beautiful bone structure but she wasn’t begging.   A fly lands on the Natural Light.  He doesn’t take a swat at it for it would knock over his beer.

“There’s a dealership in Cambria with a few cars in my price range.”

It was February and she was using this year’s tax refund, or at least the part of it he gave to her since the divorce three years earlier—the child tax credit.  Two children two grand.  Sue had sold her Jeep to Gary the next door neighbor, who flipped cars for money when he wasn’t installing carpet.  He said he’d give her $700 for it but he never did.  So she had been without a car since May.  Summertime wasn’t that bad an IGA was within walking distance, but when school came round rainy days made the morning walks tough.  It was wintertime now.  She was desperate to find a car.  Snow was on the ground a cold front had come through the past weekend and a few inches were still not melted the snowplows leaving huge hills in parking lots.

“Isn’t that where the hippies hang out?”

“That was what I was told when I moved down here.  I almost got a house there, but I wanted a closer drive to Heartland.”

“Like that really mattered…  How the hell do these flies get in here?  Ever since the girls broke the screen door they always manage to slip in when I leave the back door unlocked.”

“You spend too much time alone here anyway.  And nobody cleans up after you.”

“Well my mornings wouldn’t be so long before going to work in the evening if you had a car and I didn’t have to take the girls to school.  Maybe you should get Gary to do it.”

They planned to go the next day.  He would take the girls to school she would make them an omelet and then they would head off to the dealership.  When they got there heading north of Crab Orchard the lot hadn’t been plowed and the cars looked like plumped up marshmallows with the un-scraped snow on their windshields and the pavement wheel trails of slush.

He was dealing with a boy. The salesman that came out in the cold was a kid.  Sue had found a yellow Volkswagen bug.  After the boy salesman swiped it off they took it for a test drive.  It drove well on the roads.  But when Rich tried to put it in reverse (which didn’t really matter anyway there were always roads to turn around in even in the icy slushy roads of winter) Rich laughed at his mistake when the boy simply showed him to push the stick down and then shift.  Rich loved the connection in the icy conditions.  So he told him about their tax condition.  Rich and Sue really worked well as a team.  He asked what else was in her price range.  That’s when the boy’s pride and joy came out.  Even with a pack of Evian water in the backseat.  A North star V8 Cadillac with black matte finish.  The kid had painted it himself.  And it really drove like a dream. Total cop trouble if you’re black.

Winter be damned Rich used a credit card to fill in the rest (400$) what the child tax credit didn’t and Sue was grateful for a while trysts at Devil’s Kitchen pictures of privacy but they don’t make them like that like they used to and even with a pink decal in the back saying protected as you go to a cornerstone church and children in the back that hate the winter flu season disguising it as chips when the cops smell weed and yes Sue coming over to his barbeque hut with corn beef hash mourning as she cooks mourning over the goddamn drainage mourning that she should have been his wife but hell in hibernation what do we eat anyway? A mistake. 

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