“Dig Harder” by Kevin Richard White

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After I crashed the car I went into Tom’s for a nightcap. I mulled over the thousand lies I was going to tell to my wife about it. I loved lying. I crashed the car just so I could lie.  There’d be angry sex afterwards, when I told her I lied.

“Why did you lie to me?” She would say between moans, on her back, hands digging into my neck.

“I’m going to come,” would be my response.

I took a seat at the bar and ordered a beer.  When the bartender passed it over, I turned, facing the inside of the room.  Funny, all those guys sitting at the bar staring up at some bullshit TV with some bullshit game on it when the real show’s inside. 

I sipped the shitty beer as I watched a young couple at a table playing cards. Looked like rummy. Hot girl, douchebag guy. They probably had bad sex. I walked up to them. 

“Whatcha playing?” I said.

The girl ignored me, the guy shot me a look because he had to.

“I used to be real good at rummy,” I said.

Neither one seemed to care. 

A wave passed through me. I was twenty one again. The broken jukebox, the shards of the pool cue in the guy’s eye, the handcuffs, the meat-whiskey vomit on the cop’s shiny shoes. It’s all coming back and all I have to do is tighten a fist, break glass, go for the balls.

“Hey buddy,” I snarled.

The guy slammed down his hand and the girl jerked back.  I put my watered down beer on the table.

“Wanna go?” He said. 

“Who talks like that?” I said.

“I said, you wanna go?”

My knuckles have worn over the years, the chiseled face has gained weight, but the void is still there, unfulfilled by anything else except this. 

“Yes,” I said.

The girl ran off to tell the bartender. I let the kid go first and we walked to the parking lot. He turned to me in the dark and I realized why I wanted to talk to him. He threw a punch.

“Stop,” I said, but it connected.

I fell and he said, “Fucker.”

“Wait.”

He held up another fist. I stumbled up to my feet, looked past him and pointed to the reason I wanted to talk to him. “Look.”

He didn’t.

I wiped my mouth. “I ain’t gonna hit ya, Christ, look.”
He turned.

I came up behind him, smiling with pride and blood. “That’s my car.”

There it was, the wrecked Elantra. Smoke streamed out, the color of a stout.

“That’s my wife’s,” I said.

He opened his mouth to say something, maybe ask me a question.  But then he closed it and we both stared at the car.

The bartender was about to come out.  I knew that. He’d have his baseball bat, threaten to call the cops.  The douchebag’s girl would cower near the door, maybe throw an insult or two my way.  I’d walk into the dark toward a home I’d get to much later. Dig around in the fridge for a beer.  Lie to my wife about the car and then try to fuck her. 

The future can be bright.

But he left me there and walked back into the bar. I guess he didn’t have a question after all.

I guess the fun was over. I wiped the blood off of my face with my shirt. I couldn’t find my keys. I walked into the road and waved at every car that blew past me.

“Help me find my keys!” I shouted.

 

Kevin Richard White’s fiction appears in The Hunger, The Molotov Cocktail, Barren Magazine, Hypertext, decomP, X-R-A-Y and Ghost Parachute among others. He is a Flash Fiction Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine and also reads fiction for Quarterly West and The Common. He lives in Philadelphia.

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