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Rain or Shine

Story by Mary Miller (Read author interview) March 15, 2006

We smoke pot at her kitchen table with the door open for ventilation and talk about antidepressants, which ones make it hard to get off. We decide they all make it difficult, some impossible. Then her husband yells from the living room about needing something and she yells back, louder than necessary. It’s quiet for a minute and then he yells again. Beer, he needs a beer, and will she get it for him since she’s closer? She sighs and hoists herself up, leaves me sitting there alone with the walls too far apart. I listen to their voices bounce back and forth and wait.

Her husband doesn’t say much but he always looks like he’s chewing on something large and tough inside his head. One time she told me that he wanted to swing, that he was trying to talk her into swinging, and it’s all I can think about when I’m around him: how he wants to have sex with other women, how I’m probably at the top of his list of potentials.

“Want a beer? Walt doesn’t need any more,” she says, standing in front of the open fridge. I nod my head yes and she grabs a couple and brings them to the table. “He got off early. The rain.”

“Thank God my husband works twelve hours a day. Rain or shine.”

“What’s he do again?”

“Power Company.”

“Oh, that’s right,” she says, and something about the way she says it reminds me that I don’t like her much, that I only hang around because she calls, because there’s all this time to kill and I have a tendency to search the apartment for clues when I’m left alone too long.

“Walt’s dad is supposed to be getting him a job at the mill. Something in management.”

“That sounds good,” I say.

“Well, we’ll see. My fingers are crossed.”

Walt comes in and raises his chin at me as a greeting. He opens the fridge and his neck starts moving side-to-side and then he starts pulling out drawers. Lacey says, “They’re gone. We drank `em all,” but really she loaded them into the cooler and stuck the cooler in the carport.

“There’s no way,” he says, and she tells him that there is most certainly a way, and he retreats into the living room a defeated man.

When Lacey goes to check on the babies, I bring him a beer. He smiles and I compliment his teeth. I want to kneel between his legs, listen to him gasp as his children, like a couple of afterthoughts, sleep upstairs. But instead I ask what he’s watching.

“Something on Hitler. Thanks,” he says, holding up the can before taking a swallow.

“No problem,” I say, and then I walk back into the kitchen and sit at the table and fiddle with my lighter until his wife returns.

About the Author

Mary Miller attends graduate school and works at a children’s shelter in Mississippi. She writes a lot.

This story appeared in Issue Twelve of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twelve

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