A New Driver by Kimberly Fore
The orange pumpkins had been carved by children and placed upon the church steps for display. The breeze blew, flickering the flames inside the bellies of each individual squash. There were thirteen of them to be exact, and were lined up two-by-two on the six steps leading into the church. The odd number left one to be placed in the grass, to the right of the stairs.
A car was parked across the street in a vacant lot. Behind the car was a non-descript strip mall, each store closed. Two occupants sat inside of the Honda Civic, littered with empty soda cans and convenience store impulse buy candy wrappers.
“Do you think they should be there?” The woman asked.
Her hair was in a pony-tail, her jeans had holes in them, and her black tee-shirt said she was a rebel. She tapped her pink converse together.
“What? The pumpkins?”
His fedora was tipped over his eyes as he stared out from under the brim. His tweed jacket covered a polo shirt that had been tucked into his corduroy pants. His shoes were oxfords, and matched his belt.
“Yeah. Aren’t they some symbol of paganism or something?”
“So they are on the church steps. It’s not right.”
“So it’s blasphemous.”
“If you say so.”
“Well, I think so, so I guess I say so.”
“I guess,” the man answered.
She continued to stare out of the window, her mouth pinched. Her left leg bounced slightly, as she crossed her arms and sighed audibly. The man said nothing.
“How much longer?”
The man extended both of his arms out straight, past the steering wheel, and then rested his hands at the ten and two position. The car was not running, but the keys were still in the ignition. He furrowed his brows and chewed the inside of his cheek.
“Want to listen to some music?”
“No. They said to wait across the church, they didn’t say to wait and listen to music.”
“How much longer?”
“I don’t know. They said be here at seven and its seven-fifteen.”
“I just have a real problem with those pumpkins. Why are they lit so early? It’s not even Halloween.”
“I’m sure they have their reasons.”
The man lit a cigarette and cracked his window.
“Do you have to do that right now?”
“Smoke. You said you were going to stop. You said one more job and that was it. That was three jobs ago. Do you have to do that?”
“Do you have to nag me?”
“I’m not nagging.”
“You are, and your nagging leads to my smoking.”
The woman stared out the passenger window, arms crossed, fingers on both hands drumming.
“Can you at least roll down my window? It smells disgusting.”
“Why can’t you?”
Again she sighed audibly. The man flicked the cigarette out of the window, and then closed it back up. He looked at the woman next to him briefly, shook his head slightly and set his hands in his lap.
Headlights illuminated their car as another party pulled up next to them. The driver of this vehicle cannot be seen, the make and model of the car unknown. The woman squints as the headlights point in her direction, and continued to get closer. The driver stopped the car about a foot from the passenger side door.
“Why did he do that? Now I can’t get out.”
“Do you want to get out?”
“No, but if I did want to, now I can’t.”
“Don’t worry about it then, you never get out.”
The man exited the vehicle and walked around the rear to the waiting car. The woman yawned and clasped her hands together in her lap. She glanced out the passenger window, sighs and then extends her legs and crosses her feet. Her shoes are dirty and her socks are ripped. She doesn’t seem to notice.
The driver side door opened, and a woman entered. Closing the door she started the car.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Julia. So what’s happened?”
“What do you mean?”
“The guy who got out of the car? The guy who used to drive?”
“I don’t know.”
Julia glanced at the car next to her. She nodded slightly and turned back to the woman who just entered the car with her.
“Do you like those?” Julia asked her.
“Those pumpkins on the church.”
Jane looked out the window at the church across the street. She shrugged her shoulders and tucked her hair behind one ear.
“They are okay I guess, a little early for Halloween.”
The loud thump of the trunk closing startles the pair, as they feel the rear of the car dip slightly.
“I guess that’s our package.”
Jane puts the car in drive, and slowly leaves the parking lot. The pair cruise by the church and Julia smiles. The lone pumpkin in the grass, the thirteenth jack-o-lantern, has now grown dark.
* * * * THE END * * * *
Copyright Kimberly Fore 2015