When the engine finally cut out, a stuttering wheeze shook the driver’s cabin. I shook my head and stubbed out the spent cigarette on the dash.
It was midsummer, and the humidity plastered my shaggy brown hair to my forehead.
Alma paused her incessant fanning and traced the path of a bead of sweat that dripped down her arm.
‘Sure is hot today,’ she drawled.
I ground the ragged skin of my parched lower lip between my teeth. The beast roiled in my stomach, scenting my unease. Blood thudded in my temples.
‘Well, shit yeah Alma honey. It’s August, of course it’s hot.’
Her face crumpled slightly, nose reddening as she turned her head to the side. A lank curtain of dirty blonde hair fell across her shoulders, hiding her expression.
‘Aw, come on honey. I didn’t mean nuthin’ by it. It’s just you always say such stupid things.’
Her thin shoulders quivered. A hand snaked around her distended belly, the navel protruding obscenely through the cheap, flowered dress.
Her voice was nasal, congested.
‘I’m…I’m so sorry Bobby. It’s just I’m so hot, and the baby keeps kickin’ me, and I know I’m not smart like you.’
I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples with a clenched fist. The beast bared its teeth and growled.
‘I know sugar. It ain’t your fault the baby’s restless, but we’ve gotta get back to your Mama’s farm today, and now the car’s broke…’
Not for the first time, I wished to God in Heaven that I’d never met her.
This was a piece of writing that I did a couple of years ago, inspired by the fierce summer heat (how relevant!). I was experimenting with writing in a different voice and style, so I tried to tell the narrative from the viewpoint of a very frustrated, male character.