Francine Witte ~ Just Another Road Trip Story

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.