KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Flash Fiction: 698 words


by Marilyn Morgan

A warm summer day and I’m driving through the countryside. There is little traffic, the road flat and straight, so I click on the cruise. Cows graze lazily in open expanses of fields, their tails in constant motion brushing away flies in the afternoon heat. Farmhouses and barns, all sizes and shapes and in various stages of disrepair, are scattered along the highway. Blue chicory and white Queen Anne’s Lace meet in bunches and color the roadside. Like a watercolor painting that might be for sale in the general store up ahead. In the yard of a ramshackle farmhouse, a large chunk of wood leans against an old rusted wheel barrel. Distorted, awkward lettering much like a child writes...FRESH VEGETABLES. I pull over. Sweet corn is piled high on a slab of wood sprawled between two milk cans. I slip six quarters into the top of the money jar and gather up a dozen ears. I hop back in the car, pull out and cruise on down the road.

Then I glance in the rearview mirror; flashing red lights are barreling down on me. My foot taps the brake, cruise clicks off, and I pull onto the shoulder so the emergency vehicle can pass. But the red lights slow and soon are streaming closer into the back window. It’s a cop and he pulls in behind me. I sit waiting in anticipation, keeping track in the rearview mirror. I wait some more. The cop grabs his wide-brimmed hat from his head and tosses it on the seat. He runs a comb through his hair, one side, then the other. I wait some more. Glance down at my red scoop-neck shirt and shorts. The cop plops his hat back on his head, straightens the brim, and finally opens his car door.

Coming toward me is this six-foot hunk of a man. Tall, physically built—probably lifts weights—dark eyes, pools I could fall into, and a sly smile to die for. The kind of dude you’d find on the cover of Esquire! He pats his belt buckle, and bends down now, his face so close to mine, I could plant a kiss on his lips. he speaks, his voice a gentle breeze. his aftershave, pungent and sweet. he opens my car door, holds out his hand, and we walk hand-in-hand along the stream that meanders across the adjacent field. we come to a grassy area on the bank, and he pulls out the blanket tucked under his arm. carefully, he unwraps a bottle of wine, pops the cork, spreads out the blanket. we lie down together. the sun, the breeze, riffles singing in the water fill us to the brim.

But...none of this happens. Instead, a deep, gravelly voice asks, “Do you know how fast you were going?” I look around as if the answer might appear any minute.

Accusing, hostile eyes shoot straight into mine. Stubby bristles dot his chin and I see a stray hair sprouting from his nose. Lodged between his perfectly straight front teeth, a glob of his lunch.

“Clocked you at eighty,” he says with all the authority bequeathed to him when he donned his uniform.

“Really,” I say as if it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard.

“Where you going?” His eyes graze over me, over the empty passenger seat, and around the vacant back seat. Perspiration leaks from my armpits and I finger the top of my scoop-neck shirt.

“Going home,” I say. “Cruise was set at 65.”

He bends down to the window again, fumbles with a wad of paper in his hand...I see his fingernails, overgrown and uneven. I look up at his face, a shadow of whiskers sprouting along his jaw line. His forehead, popping beads of perspiration. He sneezes, draws a wrinkled handkerchief from his pocket, and blows a loud snort into it.

He’s talking...

“Get that car to a garage and get your cruise fixed. And watch your speed next time.”

“Sure thing,” I say and turn on the engine, glancing in the rearview mirror and watching the cop stride back to his car.

I pull onto the highway and head on up the road.

Marilyn Morgan
Issue 6, Fall 2016

is a retired English teacher who lives and writes in Central New York State. Her prose has been published in Edge, Motif, Dear Nana, and Five Quarterly; and is forthcoming in Thrice Fiction, Minerva Rising, and *82 Review. Her poetry has appeared in Atlas Poetica, Bright Stars, Ribbons, A Hundred Gourds, and others.

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