Every Rut and Bump

We found every rut and bump in the road, flying off our seats each time we hit one. Frankie howled with toothache behind us, rolling around the backseat, kicking us in our backs.

“We’ll get you some medicine, soon as we can, honey,” drawled Joan around a cigarette. A cracked window sucked the smoke around her head like bandages. In the silver black moonlight, she looked like a Forties film star, a real candidate for wax.

Through sleeping villages, country roads; Frankie didn’t let up for a second. I was fumbling through Joan’s tapes - a choice of the Cramps, the Cramps or the Cramps - when her top half suddenly swivelled, 1-80 degrees.

“We already passed that Fiat dealer earlier,” she said. I braked, Joan thumping the dashboard with her palms, and threw us squealing into reverse until we were idling in front of the blacked-out forecourt. She looked at me for a second, cigarette tip making little circles, then jerked the door open, which is when Frankie slipped out after her and into the night.

We looked for him for hours, calling his name until we were hoarse. We tried every street of the village, twice, stumbled over fields as the sun rose coldly around us. The sea air carried the sound of him to us but we could never work out from where, and they grew increasingly faint.

Back in the car, Joan looked scooped out, as close to crying as I’d ever seen her.

Damn hound. 

by Nick Black 

(Picture courtesy of https://cassetteeater.wordpress.com)


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