Siren

She asks him: didn’t you used to fish for crawdads with spam hooked to piano wire or something? He shakes his head and says what, after I strangled some gangster to death? She says ha ha, it must have been someone else. He says what, with the other lost boys? She says okay, I get it. Then he mentions something about jelly beans, about how it’s weird that some colors taste different from others when it’s all the same sugar and corn syrup, and she says um yeah, that’s weird. I guess.

She metronomes in her seat thinking if she gets the angle just right her happy will uncurl. He pretends the windshield is a nature-themed screen saver, and porn is just a mouseclick away.

He mentions he hasn’t driven in awhile and the road feels nice. She asks him to slow down. It’s not a race. The right side of his mouth strokes down. Her follow-up laugh is fake.

He says remember that one time we saw that hot air balloon start to take off, and then something went wrong and it left the basket behind? She laughs and says yeah, all four people wore the same blue windbreakers and had cameras and none of them moved from the basket.

He laughs harder and says he’s glad he had his own $12 disposable camera to capture the moment forever. She laughs harder and wonders if the four blue people ever considered that their air utopia looked an awful lot like the ground.

Then he runs out of laugh but milks an extra titter then declares the road trip can’t continue without coffee. She looks out the window and rocks as he drives too fast into a gas station.

He returns with a double americano in one paw and a skinny latte in the other and doesn’t mention anything about the thick-hipped barista who doesn’t look like anyone he’s slept with wearing a t-shirt simply arguing: now. She takes the latte and doesn’t mention that while he was gone she found the right spot for her metronome.

A few miles later he points out a big orange road sign that looks like a stick man running from an irate deer. She tells him to slow down, maybe the next sign will be a car running from both.

He says about fucking time as his endless green screen saver is chased off by endless ocean and a fish kite too red to ignore. He says you should get a crawfish kite and fly it from the cliffs. She says you should get a sailor’s tattoo and go to a strip club. He says only if you’re dancing. She makes ocean waves with her arm and he wooooooos.

They park the car and take off their shoes and surrender their feet to sucking sand and she reaches for his hand but it isn’t there because he’s taking a picture with his disposable camera of an old man sitting in a folding beach chair, waves devouring his ankles. He says I think he’s sleeping. The man melts from the chair and she takes a step back and says that looks like a deeper sleep to me. He snaps one more picture of the man’s wave swallowing face plant and then he wonders if they should call someone, or just keep walking.

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