by Tammy R. Kitchen
The only sounds were the tires rolling over the grated pavement of the interstate and Melissa's nightgown flapping out the passenger side window. It was 3:30 a.m. The midnight DJ's voice had ground into Jimmy's ears and so he had turned off the radio. Driving, then, with the rhythm of white silk in the wind and the turning of tires, Jimmy began to sink into himself.
Melissa lay naked, sprawled in the back seat, her feet pressed against the window and her hair across her face. Ten miles back, Jimmy had realized she'd stopped snoring, but he hadn't pulled over to check on her.
Melissa always snored when she slept. The sound of it drove at Jimmy, and every night he burrowed his head into the tiny space between the mattress and the wall. When he woke in the dark with his neck stiff, he scooched to the end of the bed, pulling the blankets with him. Melissa always opened her eyes and watched him walk across the room on his way out to the couch. He would stop in the doorway and look at her on the bed, coverless, goose bumps crawling down her stomach. He would look at her looking at him and she would keep snoring the whole time.
Jimmy drove on, no longer hearing the flapping sounds or the buzz of the road, only hearing the silence. Days spent at the shop listening to men yell above the grating of metal in through-feed grinders. Evenings spent with Melissa yelling about her mother, yelling at Jimmy, even yelling when they fucked. Then that Goddamned snoring. Jimmy had forgotten the sound of his own thoughts.
This was their first annual run-off-and-fuck-in-the-woods trip. Melissa had said it would be good for them to get away. Jimmy had stuffed their tent and duffle bags into the trunk with Melissa behind his shoulder, her nasal voice clawing at the back of his head. They'd climbed into the car and driven with a bottle of Beam between them and the radio blaring above the wind in the open windows. They'd driven with Melissa's high-pitched excitement between them, the right side of Jimmy's head beginning to throb.
Melissa wanted the growl of thrash-metal music. She said it made her feel young. She said it made her want to spread her legs. This she screamed over the wind and the traffic, then she swallowed some Beam and put the bottle between her thighs. Jimmy grabbed the Beam from her and took a drink. It burned his stomach and the music burned his ears and Melissa's fingers moved up his leg.
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"Jimmy's Luck" is roughly 1250 words.
Tammy R. Kitchen lives in Michigan with her daughter and three cats. Her work has appeared in Twisted Tongue, juked, Me Three, and Zygote In My Coffee. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.