"Out With the Old… "
by J. Scott Ellis
Jonah popped a camel from the pack and snatched it with his teeth. He snapped open his Zippo and inhaled a waft of butane from the wick, then thumbed the striker once, twice. Oh for fucks sake.
“I need a light,” he said. An approaching semi flashed bleaching light through the windshield. Hollow steel-grey eyes scrutinized him from the rear view mirror.
“You should quit,” his father said through a swirling flume of smoke, “that shit will kill you.”
“Leave him alone you big bully,” Sherry said from the passenger seat in a playful tone. She was barely older than Jonah. Her breasts brushed his knees as she leaned into the back seat. Rubbing delicately against him like a cat, she kissed the end of her cigarette to his.
His father jerked her back by the hair and tossed her into a heap on her seat. “Asshole!” she screamed.
“Leave her alone!”
“Shut the fuck up boy.”
“You shut the fuck up old man.”
Brakes squealed. “Out of the car--now!”
They squared off on rough, pock-marked pavement. Electricity sizzled and hummed through wires draping overhead from a wooden telephone pole like clothesline.
“You don’t have the balls Jo--”
A lifetime of fear and resentment balled into Jonah’s fist, caving his fathers face like a cudgel through ripe melon. Death was instant.
Jonah whirled to the muffled cry behind him as she stumbled backward onto the car hood. Steel-grey eyes of the conqueror bore down on her.