(Written 5/1/19 -Kate)

They were young and didn't know squat about each other beyond initial attraction, but there was a definite moment when it all came apart..... the scrape of tires on a gravel road, the groan of uncooperative gears, and the old car aslant against a burst of bushes and bramble, just missing an old Crone of an oak. The worst of it was a flat tire. He swore and grunted against the rusted lugs until he was musked by the heat and the effort. He threw the tire iron and she watched it spin into the yellow grass. His shirt was sculpted to his body, a nice body it was, and dark where he sweat, a body she had admired for months, thinking, though she was only sixteen, he was surely "the one," and he went on cursing. Unconcerned with rescue plans because they were only a mile from town, an easy walking distance, she sat down at the edge of the road, playfully drew a map in the gravel and grit, and she bit her lip. She squinted at clouds, at a graffiti of birds, and bit her lip harder, but she couldn't hold audible reaction back anymore, and finally she laughed, knowing she was letting go of a dream-- not a polite little giggle, but something that could have broke from a bullhorn. He threw her a hateful look and cussed more. All the more she laughed while his hand made a fist that, but for distance, was meant for her....and then she got up, free of yet another adolescent expectation, but still amused, and began walking.



(Written 11/22/17 --Kate)

Veronica Boston emerged from a scorched pocket of autumn, near Highway 77.

Progress on the rocky shoulder was slow for a dame who used to lead a refractory pack. Substructure had shifted, ornaments peeled back on her life.  A cancer and double mastectomy survivor, with cataracts, and the paper chain of osteoporosis, Veronica had no circles, no firm spots left on her body, and little chance of adventure.  She got up several times a night to pee, sometimes just for the fun of it, and  because, though most everything that came from genes, from chromosomes was mush, oddball bent remained.

Today was Veronica's birthday.   She was eighty-nine.

Veronica stood at the edge of the road, her thumb up.

A battered jeep approached, stopped.  A girl with purple hair, a bar through her eyebrow, a stud in her nose, and a "Ride the Wind" tattoo on her forearm asked, "Whatsup, Sister?"

"Could use a ride to town.  Looking for a job.  I heard Wal-Mart is hiring."

"Bitchin," the purple-haired girl said with a smile.  "Hop in, Girlfriend."

And away they went in a cloud of exhaust and a swell of Rap music, both of them laughing, toward town where, of course, there were always the judgmental, the obliging, who would wave, roll eyes and laugh back.