I stole a car. The keys were in the ignition, the flashers were on, the radio was all ads for car dealerships. It was unlocked and gassed up and ready for a new life. Perfect. Why not. I hopped in and got going. Slid into the stream of commuters heading out to the suburbs, then slid back out onto 28, then onto 109 alongside Lake Winnipesaukee. I drove with the windows down, my hair wild in the breeze. Turned onto 113, 112, up the mountain and back down the other side. I’d pull up to a junction for some new number and try my luck. Didn’t matter where. All places I had never been before, all beautiful and lush. New sights for the new me: criminal, escape artist, crazy person. The car and I eventually wandered over into Maine because all the Live Free or Die signs started to freak me out. Soon I would not be free, soon I would be in a holding cell, in a courtroom, in a jail. Or just plain old dead. But before that, I could do anything. I could decide to go up on 150, hop onto 6, go on up through Moosehead, up into the middle of nowhere, no one, nothing. So that’s what I did. Gravel roads, dirt roads, dead grass. I killed the engine, cut the headlights. Listened to the dull moan of bugs in the trees and grass. Dug through the center console, the glove box, the trunk, under the seat. Don’t know what I expected, but I found a handgun, safety off. Jesus Christ. Shot it into the air, five rounds. Come and get me, come and get me, here I am. But the shots probably sounded like a hunting rifle, probably sounded just like nothing to nobody. The bullets punctured the sky and it started to bleed out little pinpricks of light. No moon. I tried to think about tomorrow, and the next day after that, and the next and the next and the next, but I couldn’t think of anything. The stars keep winking. The bugs keep chirping. I keep waiting. But nothing’s coming for me.
Zac Smith is big and damp and a friend to all dogs. They lick his face, his neck, warm dog breath and wild eyes. His stories have appeared in Hobart, Maudlin House, Philosophical Idiot, Soft Cartel, etc. A bunch of places. Oh no, there they go again. The dogs, loose tongues, bouncing jowls. Oh no. Oh god. He’s fallen. Dogpile. And yet, and yet. He tweets: @ZacTheLinguist