Talk Of The Town

She ran naked down the highway. What was she running from? no-one was sure. Running fast on the shoulder, she tripped and fell, skinned her knees, that didn’t stop her. The short, squatty brunette got up and picked up the pace again. A pickup truck followed close behind.

Get in, he shouted from the Ford. Come on now, he kept on screaming at her. Finally he pulled over the truck and grabbed a Mexican blanket from the back and ran towards her. Come on girl, he said. It’s the middle of the night for Christ’s sake, getting close enough to throw the colorful blanket ’round her. It fell off into the tall weeds and trash that the Highway Dept. had not yet cleaned.

I said put this on, wrapping it around her wide body. What are you doing out here?, he asked. You’re shivering cold honey, It was Autumn’s first night. Come on back home, he lit a cigarette and offered her a drag. She took it from him and sucked in the smoke. She was breathing heavy.

You can’t be doing this, he told her. Can’t be up and running ’round naked down the highway. People will talk. They already think you’re strange enough.

It was true. There had always been talk around town of her strange behaviors. Gossip mostly. Middle aged women with nothing better to do than talk about someone they never met. However, they’d seen her in the Piggly Wiggly talking to herself. Saw her at the library checking out books on Eastern religions. Heard rumors she practiced witchcraft.

Come on now, he turned her around. Let’s get on home. She buried her brown eyes into his skinny chest. I’ll make ya some coffee. You can tell me all about it.

And they drove through town. Had the radio turned to a country station with Crystal Gayle singing a song ’bout turning brown eyes blue.

You like Crystal Gayle?, he asked. She didn’t answer. Didn’t even nod. I like her. Don’t hear much from her these days, he turned the music down. Like everyone…she just disappears. Is that what you were trying to do tonight? Disappear? I haven’t known you that long. And…I should’ve known you were trouble when we met. I sensed it. But, I let my senses go to the side, they pulled into the driveway and he turned the motor off. They sat there in silence for a minute or two. Then she asked, you gonna get the door for me? He nodded yes. Well?, he slammed his door and walked over quickly to open hers. She just got out. Felt the cold stones on her bare feet. Walked into the house through the back door and took a seat at the kitchen table. He followed behind.

I ain’t ’bout to tell you that you’re crazy, he poured grounds into the filter. But…that was a crazy thing to do, filling the coffee maker with water. You wanna talk about it? She shook her head. What am I gonna do with you? What am I gonna do with you?, she took a Marlboro from his pack. He sat a cup of joe down next to her and went over to the cabinet above the sink. Started mumbling, Aspirin…we got anything for a headache? Look at all these pills. Welbutrin…Seroquel…Vraylar…everything to fix your head but an aspirin, she laughed. Think that’s funny huh? I’m just hilarious ain’t I? He began to laugh too. We’re all in this together I guess. You’re crazy…I’m crazy…this whole world is crazy. He paused. Walked over to her and kissed her on the forehead, Goodnight.

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