by Roy Dorman
“Come over and pick him up. I know you know where I live.”
Ellen Spencer ended the call and walked to the hall closet. “Never again,” she said.
Robert, her husband of twenty-two years, was at the apartment of his current mistress, too drunk to drive home. Ellen had been through this movie many times before. It had become old a long time ago, and being roused from sleep once again in the early morning had caused something in her to really mean it this time.
She almost called Robert’s mistress back to ask that she have him out by the curb when she arrived. Ellen didn’t want to have to manhandle Robert down the stairs from the two-story apartment building. Maybe she’d just park outside and blow the horn.
Robert was passed out on the stoop outside when Ellen drove up. If anyone would have wanted to get in or out of the building, they would have had to step over him.
Ellen half-carried Robert to the car and shoved him in on the passenger side. She tried to fasten his seatbelt, but he wouldn’t cooperate.
“Just leave me alone, for chrissake.” He then opened the door just in time to throw up in the gutter. In doing so, he almost fell out of the car and was only saved from falling into his own vomit by Ellen’s quick grasping of his collar.
Without a word Ellen got out, went around to the passenger side, and managed to get Robert’s door closed again. She pulled away from the curb and Robert started to apologize for his drunkenness.
“It won’t happen again,” he slurred. “Never again, I promise. I’m done drinking and I’m done with what’s her name too.”
Ellen stared straight ahead and didn’t respond.
“I know I’ve been an asshole, but I can change. I’m really, really sorry. You can give me another chance, can’t ya.”
Other times at this point Ellen would sigh and tell Robert they would talk about it in the morning. This time, this morning, she continued to drive.
“This ain’t the way home. Why ya goin’ this way?”
Ellen accelerated from thirty to forty, but still said nothing.
“The 16th Street Bridge is out,” said Robert. “They’re fixing the whole thing. We can’t get home this way.”
Ellen swerved recklessly onto 16th Street and could see the first six-foot orange and white wooden barrier three blocks away. She gradually increased her speed and was doing almost sixty when they hit the barricade. It flew up and over the roof of the car and Ellen continued to accelerate.
“What are ya doin? Stop the car!” yelled Robert as he put both hands onto the dash and stared wild-eyed out the windshield.
Ellen back-handed him hard in the face when he tried to grab the wheel and they hit the second barricade going seventy. Then they were out of pavement.
Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published recently in Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Press, Drunk Monkeys, Birds Piled Loosely, Black Petals, Shotgun Honey, Near To The Knuckle, Cheapjack Pulp, The Creativity Webzine, and Yellow Mama.