KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Flash Fiction: 610 words


by Philip Wexler

The grimy gray station wagon just pulled into Vegas, after the drive from Sacramento and this time it was Mommy, not Daddy or the kids, that needed the bathroom, so when they hit the Slot-Shot Gas Station, she was doubly thrilled by the prospects of relieving herself and making a quick killing. Sitting on the potty to pee, she was surprised to find three slot machines within arm’s reach. Prepared, she took several rolls of quarters out of her bag and went about dropping and cranking. What a perfect introduction to gambling.

This was what they came to Vegas for, but she hadn’t expected such privacy. She did have to breathe through her mouth to avoid the stench, and the dust from the floor felt like it was creeping up her legs. But these were small inconveniences. After a while, Daddy knocked on the door and asked what was holding things up. They had to check into the hotel by six and had a ways to go. She told him she was sick and just to let her be for a while. Each time she’d be on the verge of being depleted (of coins, that is), she’d win back ten or fifty quarters. For her, this was even more romantic than their honeymoon in Rome and throwing coins into the Trevi fountain. Each small win was a dream come true.

Ricky knocked on the door next, telling her that Daddy was getting impatient and that she had better hurry up. “Tell your Daddy, it’s not a pretty sight in here and he should be thankful we found this place or would he prefer that I do it in the car?” Mommy went from one machine to the next, all from the comfort of her padded seat. She even got used to the smell. Little Danielle shouted through the door, “Daddy said that if you don’t come out in five minutes, he’s going to leave without you.” “You can tell your father I am an ailing woman, cleansing my system, and the Lord will deal with him if he abandons me here.” She had dropped her last quarter, a loser, and she was fifty dollars poorer. As she stood and tidied up, she heard her husband’s voice shouting over the car’s engine, “Then walk it, slut.” She washed the gray residue of quarters from her hands and, shielding her eyes from the harsh Nevada sun, said to herself, “The bastard actually left.”

She fiercely kicked the ground and a puffy cloud of sand smacked into a red stretch limousine filling up with diesel. She knocked on the tinted window and asked the kindly looking grey-haired passenger if she could borrow fifty dollars or so in quarters to make a telephone call. He scrutinized the cell phone tucked into her cleavage and told her he was sure they could work something out. She went into that car and they drove around for five days.

He dropped her off back at the Slot-Shot Gas Station’s Ladies’ Room, sporting a slinky red dress, sequin-encrusted red heels, and a matching Saint Laurent leather handbag. She freshened up, applying heavy makeup, red polish, red lipstick. It took only a few seconds for a patina of dust to dull the shine of her shoes. Without a quarter to her name but flush with hundred-dollar bills, she paid no mind to the slot machines this time. There was a heavy knocking at the door and her husband’s voice, “You done yet, tramp, we’re heading back home.” “You bet”, she said, opening the door, and nearly knocking him over like a flaming windstorm from hell.

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