Glancing in the rearview mirror, I watched as the cigarette ashes bounce red against the road behind me. The empty mile long stretches of deserted highway remind me of the reason for the trip. These past years I’ve been ostracized from a man who many days as I grew up, beat me for the mere fact that I breathed easy and his was labored. Now I drive toward the coast, my childhood home, in the car my dad bought new off the showroom floor the day I was born. A few decades ago I registered the car as a historical, cost me half my paycheck. A measly sum really, for a few hundred words about a murder in southeast Washington. Today it wouldn’t buy the six Starbuck coffees’ I ingest daily. I inherited the 64½ candy-apple red mustang convertible on the day I found out the man whose funeral I am to attend tomorrow, was not my biological father.
Another hundred miles. I reach into the breast pocket of the tweed jacket strewn on the passenger seat and pull out the Marlboro man, lighting my next fix before mashing the remains of his pack mate in the overflowing ashtray. A grunt escapes before I can stop it. A grey hair lies on the shoulder of the jacket, another sign of the passing years. I imagine a beautiful woman sitting beside me, stroking my ego, but instead, I drive solo this time. The last intern quit before the ink on her application was dry, figuratively speaking. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, echoes through my head as if I’d been the one to say the words, not the one to write them into an article for a major metropolitan newspaper.
I could fly for free, perk of the job, but somehow I think the car a more fitting return. Mother is sure to roll over in her grave and grandmother, spit at my feet. Wouldn’t be the first time. She makes it a point to remind me each time I’m in her presence that am I a disappointment and single handedly destroyed her favored son. Not that I was the one who slept with two men, marrying one only to find out the child she carried, me, was his brother’s. Nor was I the one to splash the headlines destroying a mediocre hope of a political career. My byline meant nothing at the time. I was less than a pageboy and though I lacked the proper emotion of embarrassment, those I had were dismissed as inconsequential.
I’m not even sure why I feel compelled to show. No one that matters is alive, but I am drawn like a moth to flame, wanting, needing to see the spectacle. Likelihood I’ll have to crash the gates for a slim look at the man are not only probable, but near guaranteed. Fodder for my second novel already promised to be a New York Times Best Seller as I expose more of the angst that is my ancestry. Perhaps.
I’m not sure why I wrote this though it was in response to some flash fiction prompt. I find most of my flash fiction, or short story attempts read more like the start of a novel. Still not sure I get the idea of how to write a short. But here is a share for today.