Smoke – Scene Six

S C E N E    S I X

Suspended in the sidereal, the winged horse was a welcome sight. Forty-five feet up caught in the diffused pink cast from a fluorescent incandescence, the proud red logo of Atlantic Richfield. They were not lost after all. Brief elation soured in an exhale of disappointment. Pulling up close, keeping a machine to the left, the price in the pump’s cracked window read .79/Gallon.

There had not been any gas here for at least thirty years. Rolling down the window to get a clear look, to make sure he was seeing the price correctly, the hum of electricity could be heard riding atop the ticking sounds of a gas pump meter as if fuel were actively being dispensed. Normal sounds, the sounds of life at a gas station.

“Lookin fo th beash…,” Janis Joplin like voice straining out of the mist.

“Hey there!” came the relieved reply from the Subaru, “Gas first, then beach, you work here?”

Floating out of the fog, a young woman appeared dressed in soiled clothing, face and arms speckled with painful looking scores. When she opened her mouth to speak, the gapped and fractured teeth explained her diction. A small malnourished looking dog cradled in her arms, shivering, burying its nervous little head to her chest.

“N ga hea…”

Nodding, he got it, no gas, understood.

Running on fumes, the afternoon drifting along with the fog, the couple discussed their options.

“Go back?”

“And run out of gas”

“Keep going then?”

“And run out of gas”

“And the beach?” the driver shouting, the window on its way up already half closed.

“Tha wa…” Janis straining her neck and pointing with her forehead, hands securing the small dog as if it would be snatched away at any moment and lost to the fog.

“Ca I geh a rye…,” moments too late to be heard.


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