They had teased about it often, but Sophia chickened out. Alone, I stand on a dirt road that hasn’t seen traffic for miles. I curse myself for not sticking around long enough to learn how to drive.
It’s always a good idea to examine the condition of a dangerous handmade-thing that scoffs at gravity before you trust your life to it. When was the last inspection? Does it always make that sound? Dangerous handmade-things that place a fatal distance between you and the hard, unforgiving ground require the greatest scrutiny.
Young Trace Gregson, thin and curly at eleven and generally happy-faced, cringed whenever he saw Dirty Molly Sadow. If there was such a thing as a bad witch about in the world, she was it. People said her toes were black with earth rich as The Hollow, and that she smelled foul as chicken leavings.
My Mum didn’t die a peaceful death. She got bitten on her toe by a rattlesnake whilst walking through the big park at night in her flip flops. She didn’t have the cell phone with her because my Dad had it that night. The poison got into her veins and stopped her heart. The next time when we saw her, she was all stiff and puffy. But her face was angry, most likely about the cell phone, I think. My Dad says she comes back in the form of a hurricane every few years or so and it’s our goddammed duty to weather the storm. He says they can call ‘em whatever they want – Irma, Katrina, Harvey, but they all Hurricane Josephine to him.
Carly’s hair is falling out. She leaves gold strands everywhere, Gretel’s nightmare version of bread crumbs. We don’t talk about it.
“Three things?” he said.
“Three things,” Lexie said. She was lying on her stomach, ankles crossed and held in the air, typing on her Mac. He had a Dell himself. But Lexie and her mother were Apple through and through. His ex-wife would buy a toilet seat if the Apple logo was on it.
Underneath a billboard beside the highway, an imperious impression of a gorilla spun a banana-shaped sign which read “Free cable & HBO & air conditioning.” It was early spring and the air cool and crisp, but the gorilla had been at it for several hours—throwing the sign up in the air, swirling it around his limbs, passing it around his back—the man underneath undoubtedly hot from the body heat trapped in his fake polyester furs. Cars filled with people on their way to work would occasionally honk hello, and the gorilla man would wave and point at the sign. The cars would then slowly pass, the occupants smiling and nodding but not looking directly at him.