Highway 24

They sat there in a line of cars a couple of miles long. Waiting, the two of em could see cop lights flashing up ahead; an ambulance went past then another.

The sounds of semis standing still while drivers in Ford’s, Chevrolet’s, and a Dodge worked their way out of line to take off in the opposite direction. Going down the road where they just came from, heading home as red tail lights shined in the black night.

They sat there, the two of em. Radio turned down low, listening to old jazz on the local Public Radio station. Some Bill Evans, Coltrane, Cold Duck Time, by Eddie Harris, he nodded his head to the music, she just kept looking straight ahead at the cars and the lights and the moon on Highway 24.

It’s glowing tonight, she said. It’s glowing down on us, placing her hand on his thigh. You know what moonlight does to me, the middle aged lady put her head on his shoulder.

Yes, he said. I know what moonlight does to you. Just sit back and we’ll be moving again. Moving in no time.

In the old days you would’ve had your fly zipped down by now, the blonde whispered. In the old days we would’ve taken advantage of this opportunity.

You know. Someone could’ve died up there, he lit a Marlboro. How many cars you think they got piled up up there? Maybe three or four. Too far away to tell, he coughed as he blew out smoke.

She sat up and removed her hand from his leg. She’d tried things before. All kinds of flirtations. He always changed the subject. Always wanted to read the paper, or watch Vanna turn letters. He hadn’t touched her in years.

I can’t do this anymore, she said.

Do what?

You’re not even aware of it are you? You’re unaware of the non-actions you do. What happened to you?, she rolled her window down. You know how long it’s been? Five years. Five years of nothing. Not even a passionate kiss.

What do you want from me?

She paused. The diesel up ahead began to move. Nothing, she said. Nothing.

On the side of the road there were four crunched up vehicles being loaded onto a tow truck. They passed em in silence.

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