International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Life
out of his Ford Ranger and walked up the steps of Ernies Tavern.
He shuffled to the closest table and plopped himself down in a chair.
A waitress with hips about a yard wide strode to Darwins tableside.
You left your pickup door open out there, she said.
I open and close the door to my work truck all day long.
Ive long passed the point when I care if its left open,
your pickup all day long?
No. Darwin lit a cigarette. I drive
a van for Xpress.
Theyre a good company aint they? The waitress
spoke her words as if she were looking for a fight. They
got them nice trucks.
Darwin rolled his eyes. That company sure didnt get
rich by being nice to their employees. They are miserable to work
The waitress narrowed her eyes. My name isnt lady.
Oh. Darwin said. I was supposed to meet
my girlfriend Connie here. He looked side to side around
the bar. Damn, there are too many people in here.
Maybe shes downstairs. Whats your girlfriend
look like? Zilla asked.
She looks like a pile of dirty laundry with thick glasses.
Darwin flicked his cigarette onto the floor. Ill have
a pitcher of Miller Light.
Zilla turned and walked away and through her white pants Darwin read
Wednesday printed a foot wide in pink across her panties.
His stomach recoiled: it was a Saturday.
About an hour later, Darwin flinched at the sight of Connie at his side.
She was usually taciturn but it disturbed him that she probably sat
there for some time unnoticed. She stared at the three empty pitchers
I thought you said this morning you wouldnt have another
drink. Connie said.
Connie, I found the solution to our problems. Darwin
reached into his front pocket and removed a Powerball lottery ticket
and placed it on the table next to his lighter.
When are you going to go to treatment? And after what happened
last night. Connie said.
Dream with me, Connie. Darwin lit another cigarette
and cried out think of what we could do with this winning ticket!
This is $31 million at stake tonight.
Darwin, you need help. More than I can give you.
Dream with me for a moment. This is the winning Powerball
ticket! Darwin patted the ticket with a palm. This
is scientific. I picked my age, 59, your age, 43, my waist size,
40, your waist size, 58, my birthday, 23, and for the Powerball, your
I was born on the 15th.
Close enough. Id buy you new clothes, some contacts
for your eyes and a weight loss surgery. Course Id get a private
jet for myself and a mansion with a golf course in the backyard for
both of us. Come on, Connie, dream a little.
Connie sighed. We could pay off Daddys farm, and you
could afford to get the treatment you need.
Listen, you wouldnt have to worry about treatment for me
when we win tonight as Id keep my drinking under control because
thered be no stress. We would go to breweries in Europe
Connie leaned forward and said Darwin I think its time
Darwin interrupted I gotta use the john. Listen, he
pointed at the television mounted on a wall and spoke slowly to Connie
as if she were a child they are gonna announce the winning numbers
after the next commercial break. Order me another pitcher if that
lady comes by our table. Ill be back in a minute.
Connie stared at the television, and Darwin disappeared for quite
some time. The winning Powerball numbers appeared on the television
screen: 59, 43, 40, 58, 23, 15. Connie muttered my
God, he picked the first five numbers. She turned over the
ticket and read that if the first five numbers match the player wins
$200,000. Connie moaned and told herself he would waste the entire
two hundred grand on booze.
Darwin returned to the table and frowned. I just ran into
that scumbag Jesse from my station. He made a snide remark about
me smelling like vodka at work. Darwin raged for a moment
but abruptly stopped. Well, did I win the Powerball?
No, Connie paused for several seconds. You
Darwin placed the ticket in the ashtray and picked up the lighter.
Lets get out of here before Jesse decides to come to our
table. I cant stand people who interfere in my affairs whensay,
what were the winning numbers?
I am leaving you.
Ill change! This was my last beer and lottery ticket!
Darwin lit his lighter and burned the ticket, which turned into a blue
flame and vanished. He took a long swig from his mug and dumped
its remains into the ashtray. That shows you! This
was my last drink. Darwin set his mug down triumphant, and
they stood up and put their coats on.
They walked past me toward the front door, and I noticed both of them
had tears welled up in their eyes. I watched through a window
as Connie squeezed herself into the drivers seat of the pickup.
Darwin sat in the passenger seat and lit a cigarette. The pickup
pulled away, and I imagined the sound of the tires as they cut through
the snow. I wondered aloud is there a more unique sound
than tires driving through wet snow? I sat back down at
the bar and, taking some liberties with the details of their lives,
began to write a short story.
© Adam Gaupe April 2008
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