“Mama, just killed a man …”
My only thought as I lean back against the stiff seats of a decrepit Cadillac.
“What year is this fucking thing?” I kick at the peeling floorboard fabric. When I don’t get an answer I sigh heavily. “It was rhetorical anyway. Leather fucking shoes … What is that anyway? Cow? Pig?”
A life long believer in animal rights I wrinkle my nose and muster every ounce of spit I have to project across his boots. “Fucking gross.”
The man beside me remains a statue, eyes glued to the sagging fabric above us.
Radio static impertinently interrupts Mr. Mercury. “Man, fuck this car.”
I kick my heels, stained a deep glossy red, to the waiting chasm of peeling carpet and random trash. “I’d ask you to get my zipper but frankly my dear …” I throw the man a sheepish look over my shoulder. Remnents of our drinks from earlier mixed with an ill advised nacho platter for one dribbled down his chin. My stomach rolled. “Frankly I don’t want you fucking touching me.”
I peel the bodycon dress from my curves with the precision of someone who’s undressed in front seats one too many times. Away it goes too, this time to the hungry mouth of the backseat, a gaping hole of no return from the looks of it.
Stepping from the stagnant car into the cool fall air I finally feel free. The creeping spider sensation no longer makes it’s way up my spine, into my fingers or my jaw.
No more do I feel the need to scream and yell, to clutch the last breaths of whatever is near between my crimson fingernails. The grass on my bare feet, the moon beaming down on my gentle windblown hair, sets me at ease.
“Do you feel that?” Gleefully I lean towards the opened passenger door. The statue of a man stares up to the sagging fabric with eyes of opaque glass. “You know?” I continue, “There really are two wonders in life, birth and death. You, sir, certainly make a fine addition to one of those.”
My sequined bag lay just inside the door, where it would ultimately stay. “But first!” I clap my hands and wiggle my hips as I snatch the matches from their designated spot. “It has been a lovely evening. I hope you fulfill all your wildest dreams and all that other bullshit no one ever really means.”
It’s amazing what a small orange flame can accomplish in an old Cadillac. I stand by, absorbed in the crackling flame. It dances and licks at the decrepit car. I throw my arms in the air and dance to the fading sounds of Queen playing on loop in my head. Feeling particularly at ease I even attempt a small bit of air guitar.
“Alas, there’s a reason I never joined a band but I must now bid you adieu.”
The wind is picking up. I know it will carry the scent of the fire, bringing curious onlookers and emergency workers far sooner than I anticipate.
No worries, even if they came now there would be barely a thing left.
With that I begin the slow tumble from cloud nine although I hate to admit I am tumbling faster these days.
I walk, naked and alone, down the abandoned road. The smell of the burn at my back, at least there is still one thing to put me at ease.
The next morning my husband caresses our daughter’s hair while I make our son’s breakfast.
“Did you hear?” He almost hisses the words across the spacious kitchen. “They found another one.”
“Another what dear?” I pluck our son from the playpen and strap him gingerly into the highchair, giving his nose a little tweak. “Eat your cereal.”
“Another burned car, another body.” My husband pulls me close, forever my protector. I giggle as I push his hands away.
“Aren’t they always men? Perhaps it’s me who should be holding you.” He flashes that pearly white smile while running his hands through perfectly gelled locks.
Already I can feel the spiders creeping along my spine, working their way into my fingers, along my jaw line.
I sigh, hoping to dispel them if even for a moment.
You should feel guilty.
But as the news cycle runs on loop in my mind I feel none.