One of Those Days

Rusty Pumps by Bill Herndon

“Call me Mac,” he said, handing her a can of Coke Zero from the lobby vending machine but looking as though he didn’t really think she needed any caffeine.

She took it, popped the top and took half the can down in ragged swallows. Then she exhaled slowly, wiped her mouth with the back of the orange jumpsuit they had let her borrow and met his eyes. “I thought your name was Corgan.”

“Mac, to my friends,” the officer said and  smiled, but it looked hesitant. “So. The Chevron station.”

“Everyone keeps saying that,” she said.  It was as if that was the explanation for everything, for the explosion, the avalanche of oranges, the runaway horses, the stolen Uhaul and the ferocious May storm. “I just stopped to get gas,” she said.

“Are you sure you don’t remember anything about the person who stole your Uhaul?”

She shook her head and finished her Coke. He didn’t really think she saw anything. No one saw anything they believed seeing, yet alone remembered. After the propane tanks in the back of the Nissan truck exploded at the McDonalds, everyone was either looking at the wash of oranges cascading from the freeway and the jack-knifed truck above or the two perfectly white horses galloping down Main Street. She rubbed her arms where the oranges had hit her, blows that reminded her of pain inflicted rather than actually hurt. She knew pain, she had been running back to it, but when she unfolded her arms from her head and saw the galloping horses, she knew she had been running in the wrong direction. She didn’t even hear the Uhaul she had left the keys in driving away. It had left sometime between the horse race and the breaking storm, disappearing sometime after she closed her eyes and while the rain stung against her upturned face.

“Everything I owned was in that truck,” she said.

“We’ll find it, Miss,” Mac said but his expression said they wouldn’t. She didn’t want the truck found anyway.

“Can I keep this?” she asked, pulling at the front of the jumpsuit where it read “SP Corrections.” Something seemed right about these clothes and the idea of shedding them to start over in something new.


All of Storm’s Pass in writing exercises so far here.