by Len Kuntz
In my cell phone the woman’s voice is gritty and shifting, a gold miner’s pan, uncertain now about this, her offer to meet me, perhaps dredging up horror movie scares or past ill-fated meetings, but she names a 7/11 in Darien, not far from where I filled the tank and bought a six pack and made a promise to myself that this would be it, no more, even if I was alone with no one to confer.
I get out of the car sensing an ambush, I’m that disoriented already, from the beer or glare or panic at being late, a flat tire hissing in my head, a trapped bee there. The sun is scalding, sun is angry, sun is a roiling, boiling mirror. I get chills and go dizzy as sweat drops spider-crawl to dank places, my pits and groin, the crack of my ass.
Sign of something in her eyes, something I’ve seen others wearing—fear.
She drops my wallet and back-peddles away.
I hold it in my hands. I realize how light it is. I hear cars on the freeway, trees taking on the wind, gargled music, laughter, a child’s scream. I close my eyes and let the sun brand me.
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Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State, an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans, and the author of the story collection THE DARK SUNSHINE. His latest story collection, I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU is forthcoming from Unknown Press in March of 2016. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com