Throw in a woman. Throw in a man. Throw in a brokedown Chevy. Throw in a body in the trunk.
Throw in a gas station. Bramble and brush. Hopper pumps and rattlesnake shiver.
Throw in the hot armpit sun.
Throw in the woman’s husband, who, of course, is in the trunk.
Throw in the way you eyed the Door dash guy. No, that’s another story.
Throw in Arizona. A road trip story is always Arizona.
Desert and plump of dune in the background. The man, the woman, the husband in the trunk pulling into the gas station. Throw in a lonely pop machine where only a quarter will roll out a Coke as crisp and cold as movie Christmas.
Throw in the gas station attendant about to open the trunk. I’m gonna check the spare for air, he probably says.
Throw in the way your husband doesn’t look at you anymore. Not with anything close to desire. Throw in how you kinda, sorta understand the woman in the road trip story and whatever she did to put her husband in the trunk.
Throw in the man throwing his meat fist on the trunk, thanks anyhow, old man, we just need gas. Throw in the smell of rotting corpse working into the Arizona air.
Throw in how your husband goes corpse when you tell him your life is a desert and his love would be like water.
Throw in the gas station attendant going fisheye with suspicion. Throw in how he sidles inside and rings up the sheriff. Throw in a shootout at the end of the road.
Throw in your refrigerator, dune in the background. Throw in no one there to check if anything needs air. Throw in you just sitting there with no idea how this story will end.
Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books) She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She is an associate poetry editor for Pidgeonholes. Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) was published by ELJ Editions in September, 2021. She lives in NYC.