Fiction 2013 / flash fiction / Volume 43

CB White in Ruth-Anne’s Escape — William “Kobe” Spencer

We’re close to Iowa, so close we’re in it.

Ruth-Anne says she knows where we are and I say she doesn’t have to. I park the car outside the tobacconist’s (closed) and load a bowl of aromatic in my corncob. Ruth-Anne says she never smoked a pipe before but her dad does sometimes, in his shop, when he’s working on something.

I ask what he works on and she says steam powered artificial hearts.

I ask if she minds tobacco in her car and she says it’s used, says maybe the old owner smoked in it.

We smoke and she almost gets the hang of not inhaling. She says it’s like chewing your food and just spitting it out. She has this pervasive cigarette smoker’s habit of blowing out her smoke when she’s done with it, where I just let mine drift.

We drive anywhere and sometimes she has to say left or right at the crossroads but sometimes she lets me do it.

There’s a radio tower or antenna in the field and we don’t pull over to walk there even though we have feet. It’s cold and she says most things that are fun require warmth. I say the cold is sometimes the condition for the possibility of fun.

We drive past a tree with a hundred crows in it and Ruth-Anne says she doesn’t like them. I say I do and she says when I disagree it sounds like I’m telling her she’s wrong. I say no I’m just trying to make conversation and she says see you’re doing it again. She’s right.

We’re not old enough to buy lottery tickets so we keep driving and forget where we made turns.

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