Kim Chinquee


She put her keys down, taking off her work shoes, saw the mechanic on a ladder with his hands up.


He said, "You have a flicker."


She stood, hand on hip, said, "Bud," feeling the haze of the heat from the open window, which she'd shut before her shift, running out without even her coffee.


She could see the problem. She hadn't noticed it until then.


She sat at the table, spreading her arm there. Her scrubs had been loaded with peroxide, stains, from this one and this one and that one. She saw the scar on her left arm from when she was ten, eleven, twelve, falling from the hayloft.


"Hey," said Bud, climbing down. "I think I might have fixed it."


She got up then, said, "Okay."


He went to the fridge, said, "Beer?"


He'd been there every day, at first in response to her calls to the office. A drip-drip here, a whistle there. A window that wouldn't shut right. Doors sticking, the oven light, a gas pipe.


She said, "I haven't called in ages."


He kind of laughed then. He got his beer. He sipped. His teeth were missing, at least from what she could see. She figured he had back ones.


He reached for the fridge again, asking what's for supper.


Like the last time and the last, she told him he could leave now.


She went to bed. She wasn't sure what he did then.



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Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections Oh BabyPretty, and Pistol. She is an associate professor of English at Buffalo State College and Associate Editor of Blip Magazine


This story was published in Issue 11 of The Literarian