She lay on the kitchen floor, her limbs resembling hands on a broken clock. My breathing skipped into a chuffing jag. I needed air. And I wanted noise, conversation, and music. It’d been ages since I’d been to Louie’s, and I missed the crowd, the laughter, the bartenders, the give-and-take. Brenda never approved of the place.
I wiped my eyes on my sleeve, grabbed her purse from the floor and hurried toward the front door. A light rain had fallen and the autumn air felt good as I sailed through intersections. When I came to a four-way stop in the middle of “Nowhere,” New Jersey, I pulled all the cash out of her purse, tossed it into some high weeds by the road, and gunned the engine.
Ahead I could see the blinking lights at Louie’s and a gravel lot packed with cars, lots of people…what I needed. Behind some of the Saturday night crowd I shuffled through a humid gust at the door.
The place had changed. Well, not the high-backed booths or the concrete dance floor or the neon ads across the walls. But the crowd appeared much younger. Maybe that was because I hadn’t been here for years…..
First published in “Down In The Dirt,” May/June 2014. Read the rest here.