showing her ID and exposing herself
as fifteen. She offers to flash me
and when I laugh she sobs,
flees, makes me recall
sprinting naked through sprinklers, choking down
the Ten Pounder at The Kookout, and pillaging garages
for cold beer. Gripping the door handle
while skidding through suburbs to outrun the cops.
Sweating, staring at the floor as Angela Watson took her time
turning me down. My face tingling when I saw
Isaiah’s senior photo in the paper. The floor tilting. The red heat
that pulsed from the picture of his crumpled car,
how numbness drummed through me. A heartbeat.
Now my store is empty.
No businessman swiping his platinum
at the pump or examining his hairpiece in the rearview.
No ragged kids with two dollars in quarters and dimes
debating the merits of Snickers versus Kit Kats.
No veteran growling in to buy his Mavericks,
six-packs, and scratch-offs. No teens
who smell like weed, out so late
that it’s early.
I should’ve just given her the goddamn cigarettes.
We would’ve lit them together,
inhaling and exhaling
smoke and exhaust
until we couldn’t tell our breath
in the cold early air
from the fog rolling in.
Jacob Little is the Managing Editor of Brevity. His recent creative nonfiction is published or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Split Lip Magazine, Gigantic Sequins, and Yemassee, where he won the 2015 Creative Nonfiction Award. Follow him on Twitter @little_jaycup.
Header Image: Creative Commons, Public Domain, modified.
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