THE RIDE
by Benjamin Soileau
Drew rifled through the ashtray of his beat up Datsun.
Crooked, punched out cigarettes spilled onto the floorboard where
they lay with an assortment of crinkled fast food bags. All he could
find was the roach of a roach, and it disintegrated in the flame from
the lighter, stinging the calloused tips of his yellow fingers as he
got one last insignificant hit. It was a hot day even in the shade
where he was parked by the dumpster behind McDonald’s. He
reached in the backseat and found the pink Hello Kitty change
pouch he’d lifted from a minivan earlier. He spread it open, removed
the less than two dollars it held, and walked inside for a cold drink.

Some days were better than others. All he’d gotten so far was a
pair of gardening shears, a flashlight, a cracked bicycle helmet, a
tackle box full of fingernail polish and the change pouch. June in
Louisiana meant open windows, and his skinny arm easily snaked
inside to the locks. The manager of McDonald’s, a short potbellied
man, watched from behind the counter as Drew moved forward in
line. Drew knew what was coming and he stared up at the
illuminated photos of meal deals, estimating that he would only
make enough at the pawnshop to put half a tank of gas in his car
and that he would have to do it all over again the next day.

Drew was aware that his father sometimes drove around trying to
spot the Datsun. The old man wouldn’t find him at the apartment
he couch surfed in, although he knew his current stay, just like the
rest, wouldn’t last much longer, two more nights, in fact, and then
where would he go? Not back home, even though his father would
gladly welcome him. It wasn’t home anymore anyway, not with the
new woman who lived there, the woman that his father had taken
into the house as if nothing had happened. Drew would continue to
punish his father with his absence. He would find a park somewhere
and sleep in the car. He thought of the seventy-degree nights, the
mosquitoes and quietly resigned himself to it.

When he reached the counter the manager stepped up and
replaced the girl who’d been taking orders. He stood behind the
register and frowned at Drew.

“What are you doing out there?”

“Man, I just want something to drink.”

“I want you to leave.”

Drew opened his fist above the counter and let the money drop.
“Give me an orange drink.”

“I’m serious,” he said.

“Man, I’m a paying customer.”

The manager turned, filled a cup and took the money. He pushed
the drink over the counter. “You’ve got ten minutes,” he said.

Outside, the Datsun idled. It had been his mother’s car and had sat
in the driveway for six months after her death, during which time
his father had remarried. The car was his escape pod, an escape
from being forced into a new life that he didn’t feel a part of
anymore, and he’d made it his mission to obtain his driver’s license,
and then he was gone overnight. The gas gauge trembled over E.
He had to drive further and further to the outskirts of town to find
pawnshops that would deal with him. He dreaded the down-turned
lips spread across the faces of the old men, like wet earthworms
drooping from hooks, their accusing eyes roving over the objects
on the counter, judging him and offering unfair prices as
punishment. It was a mutually shameful dance every time. Drew
decided to drive to Paw Paw’s Pawn. The old man in that ratty store
would buy a baby if he could turn a profit. But as he pulled out to
the road, something made him stop.

An old lady was walking out of Hancock Bank stuffing an envelope
into a large gray purse that dangled off her shoulder. She took
small, careful steps through the parking lot to the road, wiping her
forehead with a napkin. It was the same old lady he’d always seen
walking up and down the road. He’d never paid her any mind. She
was just another crazy old raisin baking in the sun with all the other
crazies. It goes to show, he thought, that you can never know
about people. She had on the same yellow polyester pants, white
shoes and white blouse that she always wore. He glanced at his gas
gauge, gathered some trash from the passenger seat and tossed it
into the back.

Drew pulled into a vacant lot about fifty yards ahead of her. He
rolled down his window and waited. McDonald’s danced in the heat
vapors behind her. He wondered how many times he and his family
had eaten there over the years, and now it was just another ruin.
Everything in this town reminded him how things once were not so
very long ago, except now it all seemed smaller, distorted
somehow, a painful reminder that nothing would ever be the same,
and that he wasn’t welcome anymore. As the lady approached the
car, Drew saw her lips moving while she dabbed her forehead with
the napkin.

“’Scuse me, ma’am?” he called out his window. “Ma’am?”

She glanced up briefly, but continued walking around the car, as
though it were an obstacle in her path. Drew called again, and this
time she stopped and looked at him.

“Ma’am, do you need a ride? It’s too hot out for you to be walking.”

She moved her lips like she was chewing on her gums and batted
her eyes at him. She leaned forward, bent at the waist and put her
hand against her forehead as if in salute. “I know you.”

Drew wasn’t sure if it was a question. In the glare of the sun he
saw her neck glistening with sweat. “Ma’am?” He got out and stood
up beside the car.

“You up at Central High? You know Kyle?” She asked, still shading
her eyes.

“Yes ma’am.”

She took a few steps closer and stopped, looking him up and
down. “I know you?” she asked again, craning her head at him.

“I’m friends with Kyle,” he said.

“That rascal.”

Drew went to the passenger door and opened it for her, but she
didn’t budge. “Kyle wouldn’t want you out in this heat.” He was
aware of the traffic, of how this scene might appear to someone
driving by and it jarred his nerves. “I got air conditioning in here.”

She glanced down the road and then stepped carefully, slowly
toward the open door like a child taking new steps. She had to hold
on to the frame to sit down in the bucket seat. Drew crept back out
onto the road and to quiet his fluttering heart, he convinced himself
that he was just giving her a ride home.

The air from the vents was only slightly cooler than outside, and
the car quickly became thick with her sweet perfume. She fought
with the seatbelt, but couldn’t get it out of its holster.

“It’s broken,” he said, glancing over at her, at the white envelope
jutting out of her purse.

“You need to clean your car, yeah.” The lady kicked at a fast food
bag on the floorboard. “I know you?”

“You already asked me that.” Drew wasn’t sure where he was
driving. “Kyle asked me to give you a ride.”

“Aye ha,” she said, clutching the purse to her chest. “He don’t
come see me no more, no. His daddy trying to ruin me, taking my
car away.”

“Where do you live?”

“Just back there,” she said, clacking the window with a fingernail,
“behind the Winn Dixie.”

Drew pulled into the Exxon station, feeling the familiar strain of the
Datsun beneath him. “Hey, do you have a couple dollars? I need
some gas.”

“I look like a money tree to you?”

“I just need a few dollars. I’m running on fumes here.”

“Shit, you no better than Kyle. Maw Maw, give me this, Maw Maw,
give me that.” She pinched open the envelope and pulled out a ten
dollar bill.

Drew took it from her and went inside. There must have been three
or four hundred dollars in there. Maybe more, he thought.

“What’s your cheapest pack of cigarettes?” he said to the clerk.

The clerk ran his finger across the display like he was searching for
a library book. He plucked a pack from the shelf and tossed it onto
the counter.

Drew put the rest on gas. As he stood at the pump the lady
opened her door and struggled to her feet.

“Wait, where are you going?”

“I got to get some rolls and some ice cream.” She began marching
away across the oil-stained lot of the Exxon station toward the
Winn Dixie, which sat at the far end of a crowded shopping center.

“Hold up.” Drew jogged over to her. “I can help you. I can give you
a ride still.” He cracked a smile and held his arm out to her, guided
her back to the car.

They pulled away from the gas station through a winding drive that
fed into the grocery store lot.

“I got to get some rolls,” she said. “Maybe something else, too.”

“Ice cream,” Drew blew a stream of smoke out the open window.
“You just now said that.”

“Young man like you shouldn’t be smoking.”

Drew ignored her and took another deep drag, trying to settle his
nerves.

“Give me a puff,” she said, reaching over and poking his elbow.

Drew stared ahead, but she plucked the cigarette from his fingers
and drew from it, smacking her lips on it, and exhaling smoke in a
series of tiny clouds. She held it back out to him.

“Keep it.”

She tossed it out the window. “I need a grocery or two up at Winn
Dixie.”

“Ok, damn it. I’m parking.” Drew thought about just taking the
money from her. It shouldn’t be a problem at all, like catching
blackbirds as a boy, placing a shoebox over a pile of bread with a
string-tied twig to prop it up. He parked at the back of the lot
where fewer cars were.

“How come you so far away?”

“Listen, why don’t you just give me some money and I’ll get your
groceries for you?”

“Cuz, I don’t know what all I need.”

“Just make a list for me.” Drew leaned toward her, trembling, not
quite able to make himself grab the envelope from her purse.

She had already pushed her door open. “I got to see it to make
sure it’s what I need.” She got out and moved off toward the store.

He sat in the car with the door open, one leg on the concrete and
watched her bump her way through the lot like a pollen-drunk
bumblebee. Drew gritted his teeth at his lack of commitment, the
phrase his father used. He quit going to school after his mother
died. He was fired from or quit all three jobs that his father had
arranged for him. He didn’t blame himself though. He’d had a rough
time of it. Drew thought that if he could just leave town then he
would have a fresh start. He could reinvent himself somehow and
shake free of his history. His Aunt Rose and Uncle Boy lived outside
Houston, and his Uncle ran a construction crew. Drew wondered if
their offer still stood, but then he knew they would alert his father
to his whereabouts if he showed up. Still, he would be far enough
away to begin a new life. He felt the heat rising up from the asphalt
in wavering, vapored tentacles.

He shook out another cigarette and walked between the rows of
cars, his eyes scanning their insides out of habit. He spotted a
microwave, still in the box, in the back seat of a green Oldsmobile,
and he circled it slowly, frisking the handles. When the back door
gave way he stood for a moment, making sure nobody was coming.
He pictured himself waddling up to the counter at the pawnshop
and plopping the great box on the counter, having to take twenty
dollars for it and then doing it all over again the next day. He
backed away from the car and made his way into the store.

He found her in the candy aisle staring into a bag of bite-size candy
bars as though she was trying to count them. She didn’t seem to
notice him standing near her with his hand on her cart, which
contained a roach fogger, an enormous bag of circus peanuts and a
deck of cards.

“So, you get everything you need?”

She turned her head toward Drew, eyed him suspiciously, and
slowly moved away. He followed her with the cart.

“I don’t need no help,” she said over her shoulder, placing the bag
back on the shelf. “What you want?”

“I’m giving you a ride home, remember?”

“I know you, don’t I?”

“I told Kyle I’d take you home.”

“He don’t come see me no more. It used to be you couldn’t keep
him from me. He was always staying the night, eating me out of
house and home. You tell him to come see his Maw Maw.”

“Ok.” Drew pushed the cart behind her, trying to figure out if he
knew the Kyle she was talking about. Faces of kids he’d once
walked the halls with flashed through his mind, but none of them
registered. He followed her through the produce section.

She picked up a cantaloupe and held it before her like it had just
fallen from the sky. She smelled it, turning it around before her
face. “I need something else,” she said to the melon.

“Ice cream and bread,” he said.

“Yeah, you right,” she said, moving off aimlessly toward the meat
department.

Drew guided her to the correct places and helped her pick the right
things, enjoying the air conditioning and serenity of the store. He’d
liked grocery stores ever since he was a child. His mother would
push the cart right up to an item they needed and it was his job to
grab it from the shelf.

The lady stopped at a circular display of LSU shirts and began
flipping through them. “You pick something out,” she said. “You
look like a hobo what you got on, yeah.” She grabbed a small
purple shirt and dropped it in the basket. “There you go.”

Drew replaced it with another. “I need a large,” he said. He grabbed
a baseball hat too, before moving behind the cart and following her
to the front. He leaned on the cart and stared down at his shoes.

“Good morning, Miss Broussard,” the checkout lady sang out,
speaking as though she were addressing a child. “How you making
out today?”

“Oh, I’m good.”

“Got to have that ice cream, huh, Miss Broussard? It’s so blasted
hot out there.”

“Oh, baby, I can eat that Blue Bell all day.”

Miss Broussard paid from the envelope. She crammed the change
back into it and put it into her purse. It jutted out like a feather
from a hat.

“You with Miss Emily?” the cashier said to Drew.

“Yeah,” he said. Drew didn’t like the way the cashier looked at him.

Miss Broussard gathered the plastic bags in her hands. Her purse
kept slipping from her shoulder. Drew grabbed the bags for her.
“C’mon, Miss Broussard, let’s get on home.” He followed her
through the doors and when he looked back, the cashier was still
watching him, her face set like concrete in a mask of disapproval.

Outside, the heat washed over them as though they’d suddenly
jumped into a pool of it. “This way,” said Drew, stepping out in
front of her with the bags laced between his fingers. She held onto
his arm and let him guide her to the end of the lot. She stood
behind him as he placed the groceries in the backseat and then
followed him to the passenger side of the car. Drew held the door
open for her and as she squatted to get in, he easily plucked the
envelope from her purse and crammed it down into his front pocket.

The inside of the car was oppressive, and it nearly hurt to breathe.
Drew pulled out to the side street. “Alright, Miss Broussard. Where
do you stay at?”

“Just back there,” she said, tapping her window.

The neighborhood behind the store was clean and small. The
houses were all alike, the yards neatly manicured, all the homes
blue, yellow or white. Drew drove slowly. “Which street?”

“Try that one,” she said.

Drew turned on a narrow drive and leaned over the wheel, waiting
for her to point out her house. An old man stood in his yard
watering a flowerbed and stopped to watch them slide by. “Which
one?”

Miss Broussard hugged her purse and looked out the windows. “I
don’t see it. Go to the next street.”

Drew squeezed the wheel. “Please tell me you know where you live.
Do you even live in this neighborhood?” He narrowed his eyes at
her and watched a bead of sweat carve a trail through her powder
as it slid down the side of her face.

“I do,” she said. “It’s on the next one.”

Halfway down the next street, Miss Broussard slapped his arm and
pointed out his window. “Right there,” she said. “That’s me.”

Drew pulled in the driveway and stopped the car. Miss Broussard
got out. She stood under the empty carport over an oil stain on
the concrete. The purple azaleas hugging the house were wild and
overgrown. An empty hummingbird feeder hung cockeyed from the
eave. She walked to the door and began fumbling in her purse. She
didn’t seem to notice the missing envelope. She removed a set of
keys and stood at the door, contemplating each one. Drew began
to put the car in reverse, but he stopped.

“Miss Broussard,” he called out his window. “You want your
groceries or not?”

She cocked her head as if she were listening to someone whisper
into her ear. Drew killed the engine and gathered the bags from the
backseat. He waited behind her as she fit two keys unsuccessfully
into the lock. There were only three keys, and the last one worked.
A blast of cold air enveloped them as soon as the door opened; the
sound of a TV came from another room. Drew followed her in and
set the bags on the small kitchen table, where a whole raw chicken
sat out on a plate, a moat of brownish-pink blood surrounding it.
The kitchen was tiny and smelled faintly of something burning. The
light in the oven was on, but there was nothing inside except an
empty cast iron skillet. Drew stepped to the oven and turned it off.

“You want a ice cream sandwich?” she said, pulling open the freezer
door, her head disappearing inside.

The photograph of Kyle Broussard on the freezer door swung out
at Drew like a phantom materializing before him, and recognition
struck him like a static shock. Kyle Broussard smiled at him,
dressed in a cap and gown, eyes bright with possibility.

They had been on the same YMCA baseball team growing up. Drew
hadn’t seen him or thought about him since he quit going to school
a year ago. They lived in different universes. He’d once spent the
night in a tent in Kyle’s backyard with the rest of the baseball team
a lifetime ago, before everything changed.

The freezer door swung back and Kyle’s grandmother was handing
him an ice cream sandwich. Drew took it from her and stood, his
memory reeling. He saw his mother in a tattered lawn chair on the
first base sidelines, shading her eyes from the sun, his father
standing behind her talking with the other men, a Coke in his hand.

“Hand me that cantaloupe,” she said.

Drew gave it to her and watched her stick it in a cabinet above the
stove. She seemed to lose interest in the rest of the items and
after Drew put the carton of ice cream in the freezer she snatched
the plate of chicken off the kitchen table and began dashing it with
salt.

“You go try them good clothes on,” she said, nodding at the
clothes spilling out of the bag.

Beyond the kitchen there was another small room with a couch, and
a television blaring The Price Is Right, the clacks of the wheel
spinning. A blue bed sheet was draped over the window, held to
the wall by Band-Aids. It cast a blue light over the room, making it
seem like the inside of an aquarium.

In the bathroom, Drew slipped the new shirt on over his thin frame.
It felt good on him and he liked the new smell. He took the tag off
the hat and fitted it onto his head. He fished the envelope out of
his pocket and sat on the closed toilet to count it. Five hundred
dollars, plus some change. He counted it again, and stuffed it back
into his pocket. Before he left the bathroom, he popped the mirror
loose and took a quick inventory of the medicine shelf. His fingers
danced across the ancient glass vials of foot fungus tonics and
antiseptics until they finally closed around a small plastic container
of Vicodin. The date was nearly two years old, and there were only
two left, but he popped both white pills into his mouth and washed
them down with water from the sink. When he walked back into the
kitchen Miss Broussard had plopped the chicken into a pot with no
water and was heating it up on a burner.

“Look at you,” she said, clapping her hands at her breast. “What
you got those pants still on for?”

“It’s all I got,” he said, feeling his pocket for the keys.

“I got pants, yeah. Kyle got clothes somewhere up in here. Come
here,” she said and went through the living room to a closet door
next to the bathroom. She pulled it open and took out two pairs of
pants, one of which was a woman’s pair of powder blue polyester
slacks. She held them out to him.

Drew took the jeans from her. They were brand new. She pushed
him back toward the bathroom.

“You take those,” she said. “You can’t go around in those rags
what you got, no.”

The jeans fit almost perfectly, a little loose around the waist. He left
them on, switched the money from the shorts he had been
wearing. Drew looked at his reflection. He smiled at himself. He
walked back out into the kitchen. She was hunched over the pot,
the chicken sizzling now. “Ok,” he said, grabbing the door. “I have
to go. Thank you Miss Broussard.”

“No, no,” she said, stepping toward him and taking his hand. She
pulled him back toward the kitchen table. “Stay and eat. I’ll get
something ready.” By now the twelve o’ clock news was on. “Let’s
see what Vernon Roger gonna make today.” She took a jar of
ready-made roux from the counter and tried to twist it open, her
elbows held out, wobbling with strain.

Drew took the jar from her, opened it and handed it back. “Thank
you for the clothes.”

“You want to play rummy?”

“No ma’am.” Drew clutched the old shorts to his side, moving back
to the door. He pictured the two of them playing cards and smiled.
He liked her. He’d not known his own grandparents, and wondered
if they all acted like her.

“You graduating with Kyle? Next week I think, yeah. No, was it last
week?” She slipped the photo of Kyle off the refrigerator and stared
at it as if he would tell her the right date. She put it back under the
magnet. “Maybe next week.”

“Yes ma’am,” said Drew. “Last week.”

“That’s a good boy,” she said. “That’s good.” She started opening
cabinets and drawers.

“Goodbye,” said Drew, opening the door.

“Hold up,” she said, opening the freezer door, staring inside for a
moment and then spying her purse on the table. “I want to give
you a little something.”

Drew’s chest seized up momentarily, watching her dig through her
purse.

She abandoned her purse and began opening and closing cabinets
again. While she had her head in the pantry, Drew pinched out
most of the money from the envelope, and crammed the cash down
in his pocket. When she turned around Drew was holding the
envelope out to her.

“This was lying on the floor under the table,” he said.

“Aye ha,” she said. “There it is.” She took it from him, peered into it
and then handed it over to him. “That’s for you, yeah. For
graduation.”

“Thank you.” Drew stuffed it back into his jeans.

“That’s good on you, yeah,” she said. “You get you some clothes.”

Drew walked out the door to the carport and she followed right
behind.

“You sure you can’t stay, maybe a little bit?”

She was in the doorway waving to him. He waved back, but didn’t
move from where he stood by his car. The smell of cooking chicken
came to him from inside. He was still holding the hot handle of the
door when a red truck came barreling into the driveway, right
beside his car. The man was out of the truck almost before it
stopped, and he towered over Drew by a foot.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” He spoke curtly,
seeming about to poke Drew in the chest with his finger. He wore a
blue jumper, DOW stitched in red letters on his chest, the name Eli
in white just below it.

Drew’s heart slammed against his breastbone like a racquetball and
the spit was all gone from his mouth. “I just gave Miss Broussard a
ride home.” He was aware of the quiver in his voice.

“Eli!” Miss Broussard was back under the carport walking toward
them. “Hey baby. Eli, come on in and let me get you something to
eat.”

Eli turned to her, the muscles in his red face tense. His hair was
greasy and wild, and graying, although he seemed young. Drew
suddenly remembered this man, Kyle’s dad. Mister Eli had been one
of the coaches for their team. He’d told them silly ghost stories in
his backyard around a fire the time they’d all camped there, and
taught them how to build a fire without matches.

“Momma,” he said. “Momma, who is this?”

“I forget,” she said. “Eli, y’all come in and let me make something.”

“What the fuck are you doing here?” He turned back to Drew.

“Eli.” Miss Broussard’s voice echoed softly under the carport.

“I work at Winn Dixie and I gave her a ride home because of the
heat.”

“Winn Dixie,” he repeated, pinching the shirt that hung loose on
Drew’s frame and letting it fall back.

“I hadn’t come on shift yet. I just got there and my manager asked
me to take Miss Broussard home before I clocked in.” The envelope
pressed into his thigh.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Zack.”

“Zack what?”

“Smith.”

Eli backed up away from Drew and put his face into his hands. Drew
inhaled the new space between them as though he had just broken
the surface after being underwater for longer than he could stand.
He took a step closer to his car.

“Momma,” he turned to his mother. “Miss Diane up at the bank
called me. You can’t just walk down Greenwell Springs Road like
that. She say you been coming in three times a week. What you
doing with that money?” The man turned again to Drew.

“She buys a lot of groceries,” said Drew, seeing his way out. “She’s
always in the store and she tips a lot.”

“Goddammit,” Eli said. He rubbed at his temples with his fists.
“Momma, you just can’t.”

Miss Broussard didn’t seem to hear him and went back inside. “Y’all
come on now. I’ll get something ready.”

Eli paced back and forth, smoothing down his hair where it stood
out in tufts. “What I’m gonna do?” he said. “I can’t have this. I
can’t keep doing this.”

“I need to get back to work, sir.” Drew pointed back toward the
Winn Dixie.

Eli seemed not to have heard him. He stood with his arms crossed
over his chest and stared back under the empty carport. “I got to
put her in a home,” he said. “I ain’t got no choice anymore,
goddammit.”

“Sir,” Drew said again.

“Yeah, yeah. What’s your name again?”

“Zack.” Drew felt strangely disappointed that Mister Eli didn’t
recognize him.

“Alright,” he said. “I’m gonna talk to your manager. You say she
been tipping?”

“That’s what I hear. You have to ask my manager though. Paul
Riley is his name. Everybody knows Miss Broussard up there.”

Eli scratched at his cheek and repeated the name. He stepped
behind the car and wrote the license on a pad that he took from his
front pocket. “You know your tags are expired?”

“Yes sir,” Drew said. “I have to go clock in.”

“Shit,” he said. “Alright, well, I’ll be there soon to talk to the
manager. Thanks for taking her home. Thank you Zack.”

Drew drove away quickly. When he glanced back, Mister Eli stood in
the driveway with his hands cupped over his face.

* * * * *

As Drew pulled away from the Exxon station the pills had begun to
work. When he drove past the Winn Dixie he saw the green
Oldsmobile still in the parking lot, and pictured the microwave still
propped in the backseat. He grinned at his reflection in the
rearview, adjusting the new hat. He pulled into McDonald’s once
more and drove up to the dumpster. He gathered trash from the
backseat, along with the bicycle helmet and tackle box, and threw
everything away except for the gardening shears. He imagined
going back and trimming Miss Broussard’s azalea bushes. He knew
that it was too late now, that it wouldn’t happen, but it seemed like
a good idea to keep them.

The wind whipped around him, and as he got further out of town,
past the pawnshops, Drew felt himself grow lighter. His cigarette
was especially good. He was certain that fate had stepped into his
day and he wondered if it hadn’t been the hand of his mother,
looking out for him, helping to usher him to his new life.

He imagined the old school, the house he’d grown up in, the
grocery stores and restaurants, even the streets he’d known as
being infested with the ghosts of a life he was no longer a part of.
The places he’d inhabited, the whole town belonged to them now,
and it seemed a perfectly natural part of things. His father, by being
content to live among them, was giving up, accepting his fate to be
a prisoner of the past. He knew Miss Broussard was headed to a
home and that she would die there. He saw her ghost walking up
and down Greenwell Springs Road, or sitting in the coolness of her
house in front of the TV eating an ice cream sandwich. Drew
thought that death was like those wild azaleas growing up the side
of her house, swallowing up flowers and blocking windows.

Ascending the ramp to the westbound interstate, Drew felt himself
moving out from underneath something. As he joined the current
of traffic he marveled at the heat shimmer in the distance, like cool
water cascading in mid-air just above the road. With his eyelids
heavy and his head tingling with the good feeling, he raced toward
the possibility of it.


Benjamin Soileau is a ragin’ Cajun from south Louisiana who self-
exiled to the Pacific Northwest. His fiction has appeared in Eclectica
Magazine, The Monarch Review, B O D Y Literary Journal, Border
Crossing and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
He drives a beer truck in Portland, Oregon.
GeminiMAGAZINE
_____________
JUNE 2015