Kent caught his balance on the hood of the car with one hand and stifled
a burp with the other. "Write this down -- you are a bitch. One might
say a Constance bitch."
Connie's eyes flashed as she put out her hand. "I don't have to write it
down, it's memorized. Give me the damned keys."
He leaned back. "I drove this little junker up here and I'm very capable
of driving it back down."
"Let's make a deal -- I'll drive or call someone. You're drunk, Mister
Kent angled forward and fished in his pocket. "You'll call someone all
right. Monica-baby will be up here in a flash."
"You are SO cute when you're hammered."
"Screw you --"
"With what? Give me the keys."
Kent took a stagger-step, tossed the keys underhand, turned and bumped
his way back along the side of the car. He opened the passenger door,
lunged into the seat, reached for the handle and slammed the door shut.
Connie got in. "Fasten your seat belt, Superman."
She started the car, adjusted the rearview mirror and backed out of the
parking lot. "And you're a very original conversationalist."
After a few near misses, Kent lit a cigarette. "Look, it wasn't my idea
to come up to the lodge for din-din -- remember?"
Connie scowled ahead. "It was my idea. This is where we started and this
is where we end."
He looked over and smirked. "Speaking of ends, Monica-baby has a tight
"Lot tighter than your girlfriend."
"Scr--" He stopped in mid-sentence. "We going to a damn funeral? Drive
"Shut up -- just shut up. I listened to enough of your bullshit during
our enchanting dinner."
"Drive this piece of crap -- stomp on 'er." Kent reached for the
Connie pushed his hand away. "Just sit back and relax."
"I said drive this fuggin' thing." He scooted around and dropped his
left foot on her accelerator foot. "Drive!"
He took a jab at the side of her face and her right arm shot up. The
roaring car swerved left off the highway, careened over the wide
shoulder, then plunged into a dark ravine. It slashed through brush and
snapped saplings before making a nosedive into the boulders that
bordered a slender creek.
Tiny tree frogs forgot about the intrusion, tuned up, puffed out their
throats and continued rehearsing a love song. Crickets who knew the tune
stretched their hind legs and joined in.
Kent heard someone calling him, but he couldn't see through the rosy
film that covered his eyes. He wiped his right hand across his forehead
and it came away scarlet. He focused on a lacy spider web in the windshield.
"Kent -- Kent -- I'm hurt. I can't breathe."
Kent turned his head toward Connie and saw blood trickle from the corner
of her mouth. "Okay -- I made a mistake. I'm sorry. Okay?"
"You never make a mistake --"
"Knock it off! Where are you hurt?"
She leaned back and grimaced. "My chest -- blood in my throat."
Kent shook his head. "I'm pinned under the dash."
Connie coughed up blood. "Someone will see our lights:"
"See that large boulder in front?. No headlights."
"Police look for skid marks."
"How about the horn?"
"Kissing the boulder, too."
"Are we going to die?"
"For chrissake. It's a possibility --"
As Connie moaned and rocked forward the horn made a feeble beep. "I
can't die here. Wait -- my cell phone."
Kent looked down. "Your purse is under my damned foot."
"Can you reach it?"
"No -- can't move."
Her eyes flickered. "Can't we do anything?"
"We can fall back in love."
Connie coughed harder and gobs of bloody phlegm ran down her chin. She
shivered and choked. "Until death do us part."
"Until death--" Kent's head rolled to one side.
Connie slumped forward and the horn sounded a weak bleat like a lost tin
lamb. The frogs sprayed their throats and called it a night. Crickets
packed up and left by a side door. The only sound was the creek,
drifting to somewhere.
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, RAMON COLLINS lost small-muscle control in his hands and stopped drawing. To stay involved with the creative act, Collins began studying and writing fiction in 1997. He types with one finger and has developed a high-pitched whine that drives neighborhood dogs crazy. Collins lives on the NE edge of the
The motivation for this piece remains his secret for now.