Days I spent at the Surf Ballroom, waiting around for girls. Sometimes I read books about war or football or how to succeed in business, and sometimes I just sat. I’d find some booth in the corner or else off to the side, and it was always sponsored by Community Bank, or maybe the Clear Lake Super 8, and the only time it ever worked was Lydia. Or Lauren. I can’t remember, and she must have been 37 at least and dancing to Tommy James and the Shondells, and then we got back to the motel, and she made me wear these Buddy Holly glasses and said I should call her Peggy Sue while we rolled around on the floor and found each other’s tongues. Hers tasted like coffee grounds spiked with casino liquor, and when the clothes came off and it still wouldn’t work, we ordered pizza from this place called Uncle Angelo’s or Cousin Billy’s and sat there using the carpet as an ashtray and talking about car wrecks and ice cream and whether or not we had any kind of a future.
“Maybe,” I said. “Probably. As long as you don’t leave right this second, and let’s just go ahead and see what comes.”
“What’s so great about a future anyway?” she said, and so I told her, I said, I don’t know, but I was always gonna end up all full and floppy beside some nowhere interstate, and maybe that wasn’t so bad, and what did she think? Maybe this one could be just good enough.
Brett Biebel teaches writing and literature at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. His (mostly very) short fiction has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, the minnesota review, The Masters Review, Emrys Journal, and elsewhere. 48 Blitz, his debut story collection, is available from Split/Lip Press.