by Ramon Collins

Kent caught his balance on the car's hood with one hand and stifled a burp with the other. "Write this down -- you are a bitch. A Constance bitch."

Connie's eyes flashed. "I don't have to write it down, it's memorized. Give me the damned keys!”

He leaned back. "I drove this piece of crap up here -- I'm very capable of driving it back down."

"Let's make a deal -- I'll drive or call someone. You're drunk, Mister Straight Shots."

Kent angled forward and fished in his pocket. "You'll call someone all right. Monica-baby will be up here in a flash."

"You are s-o-o-o cute when you're hammered."

"Screw you—“

“With what? Give me the keys."

Kent took a stagger-step, tossed the keys underhand, turned and bumped along the side of the car. He opened the passenger door, lunged into the seat, reached for the handle and slammed the door shut.

Connie got in. "Fasten your seat-belt, Superman."

"Screw you."

She started the car, adjusted the rear-view mirror and backed out of the parking lot. "You're a brilliant conversationalist."

After a few near-misses, Kent lit a cigarette. "Look, it wasn't my idea to come up to this crappy lodge for din-din -- remember?"

Connie scowled ahead. "It was my idea. This is where we started and this is where we end."

"We going to a damn funeral? Drive this son-of-a-bitch!"

"Shut up -- just shut up! I listened to enough of your bullshit during our enchanting dinner."

Kent reached for the steering wheel. "Stomp on 'er!"

Connie pushed his hand away. "Sit back and relax."

"I said drive this fuggin' thing." He scooted around and dropped his left foot on her accelerator foot, then took a jab at the side of her face -- her right arm shot up. The roaring car swerved left off the highway, careened over the wide shoulder, went airborne, then plunged into a dark ravine. It slashed through brush and snapped saplings before making a nosedive into the boulders that bordered a slender creek.


section break

Tenor tree frogs forgot about the intrusion, tuned up, puffed out their throats and continued rehearsing a love song. Crickets who knew the tune stretched their hind legs and joined in.

Kent heard someone calling him. He focused on a lacy spider web in the windshield.

"Kent --  I'm hurt."

He turned his head and saw blood trickle from the corner of her mouth. "Where?"

She grimaced. "Chest -- can't move legs."

Kent shook his head. "Pinned under the dash."

Connie coughed up blood. "Someone will see lights."

"Boulder -- no headlights."



"We gonna die?"


Connie moaned and rocked back. "Wait -- cell phone."

Kent tried to straighten. "Under - foot."

"You reach it?"

"Can't - move."

Her eyes flickered. "We do anything?"

He glanced at her. "We - can - die."

Connie coughed harder and gobs of bloody phlegm ran down her chin. She shivered and choked. "Until death do us . . ."

Kent's head rolled to one side. " 'Til - death - do . . ."

Connie slumped forward and the horn sounded a muffled whimper. Frogs sprayed their throats and called it a night. Crickets packed up and left by a side door. The only sound was the creek, drifting to somewhere.