Concise Prose. Enough Said.
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Bad Moon Rising

By Don Fredd

6:15 PM—Earl is bidding on eBay for Creedence Clearwater Revival memorabilia.  He says he can’t be bothered to take my sister Hattie and me to the VFW.  I can’t drive the F-250 truck because it’s a stick, and he flat well knows that.  In April he put the Civic on blocks to do the brakes. It’s now a neighborhood monument to his lazy ass.  A cab would run through our playing money so what’s the sense there. 

6:30—Hattie rings her cousin Benny from Alton Bay who works receiving at Costco near the Branchside Mall.  He has a Harley and could take us over one at a time, but I’ve no need to roar spread-eagled about town with my wide ass hanging out for the world to see.  Besides, I spent fifty bucks on a color and cut just to look decent for tonight.   

6:40—I beg Earl, but he yells that I just cost him a Fogerty autographed cover of their Willie and the Poorboys album and bangs his door shut on me.  Hattie tries with him, but he calls her “bingo bitch.” That’s when I grab her, and we both slam the hell out.

6:50—I’m high pissed, embarrassed at having Hattie see what I put up with.  We start walking down our road and out to Route 29.  When we get to the cutoff, I say we’re going to hitchhike.  Hattie goes bug-eye.  It’s not even a two-minute debate before Howie Winters’ landscaping truck pulls up, a wheel-slapping Creedence version of Down on the Corner pouring over us like warm piss.   Hattie started two grades behind him in school but caught up quickly, if you catch my drift.  While we’re hells bells yelling over the music and explaining the VFW early bird bingo specials to him, I can see him fishing his upper plate out of his shirt pocket and slipping it into place.  Date-night routine, I’m sure.  Hattie gets up front with him while I wedge myself into the jump seat, and we’re off. 

I’m on top of the world, thinking we’ll get there early enough for the lightning rounds and sit in the “no smoking” section, when Hattie lets out a war whoop and screams us to a stop.  It seems Howie’s idea of impressing women is to unzip his pants and have his pecker take the evening air.  Hattie is out of the cab, yelling that she’s disgusted at his behavior and calling the cops.  Howie is looking like a puppy that pooped the carpet but still has no idea why he’s being whacked by a rolled up newspaper.  I wiggle my ass out of the back and, just as I slam the door, there’s an owl-screech of brakes, and Howie’s truck is rear-ended into the next county.  In front of us now is Carla Trembley’s Acura 3.2 TL, its radiator hissing as the airbag smothers Carla who used to go bingo with us until she uppity-upped and married Kenny Rossi, the real estate mogul, and started playing at Foxwoods.

7:10—I try to tell Hattie that we’ll be here all night if she goes on about Howie to the cops, but she says her niece got gang-groped back of the Wendy’s on Highland Avenue and any scum she can take off the streets is a victory for women the world over.  Of course, Howie denies what happened, saying that he was adjusting a spilled Dunkin’ Hazelnut Latte between his legs, and that’s what Hattie saw.  Since he’s neck-braced on a gurney he gets the EMT sympathy vote.  Carl Bevlin is the duty cop tonight and not much into paperwork so he offers us a trip to bingo if we let sleeping dogs die.  I’m quick to take him up on it, but Hattie is dead against it.  We glare stare at each other until Hattie turns and stomps off into a kaleidoscope of flashing blue and yellow lights.

7:25—Officer Carl, ever the gentleman, holds the township’s cruiser door for me.        

“What’s the big jackpot up to these days, Mo?”

“All I know,” I spit out as we pull away, “is if I don’t get some playing time out of this you can come up to our place tomorrow morning and Glad bag up whatever’s left of Earl’s Proud Mary ass.”

Don Fredd's stories have been published or soon will appear in The Transatlantic Review, The Southern Humanities Review, Rosebud, The Armchair Aesthete, Word Riot, 13 th Warrior Review, Prose Toad, Tribal Soul Kitchen, WriteThis, LitVisions, Grasslands Review and SNReview.  His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, The Paumanok Review and the Café Review.  


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