County Road 574 – Short Fiction


It had been a Tuesday night in April when Malorie let the tears fall without wiping them away. She needed her hands for steering the car. Beside her was a half-empty bottle of Bacardi rum, 150 proof. The proof hadn’t mattered when she purchased it, though. After drinking most of it, she realized her error in selection but that didn’t matter much either. Her thoughts drifted from the road ahead to how he could have done it. The first time had been an accident, she swore to herself. A brushing touch against her hip while she was standing at the counter doing dishes. In the small kitchen of their Plant City trailer, it was easy for the sixteen year old to brush against her father Rick haphazardly. This time, like the five others after the first, was not an accident. She could still feel the imprint of her father’s hand on her ass; still feel the digits kneading her flesh with disgusting lust. She tried to focus on the road. At least the road didn’t make her want to vomit as much.

     Jacob hated County Road 574 back to Plant City but he hated taking the interstate even more. The drive back from the shipping company he drove for was tedious and dull until you reached just past the I-75 underpass. From there, street lights became as rare as virgins in brothels. He was almost tempted to turn on his high beams but thought better of it. Anyone driving the other way that wasn’t expected a dose of halogen lights on high might get into an accident. It had been a long ten days hauling freight for his company. Even though he stayed in state, the driving was getting to him. It was becoming more difficult for the forty-eight year old to keep his body fit. A marsupial-like pooch had begun to grow from too many nights at the pub trying to avoid another fight with Sissy. He loved seeing her face when he got home from a haul and he kind of smiled at that idea. That would last for about a day before the nagging and accusations started flying with enough frequency to mimic a tobacco auctioneer.

     Jacob saw the car first, veering wildly across the median. He didn’t know that Malorie had been crying so much that, combined with the alcohol, her vision was third-rate. Malorie didn’t know that tomorrow was going to be Jacob’s sixteenth wedding anniversary. A little porcelain Elvis that Jacob had picked up at a Gainesville flea market flew through the window, shattering on contact with the pavement. It had been a young Elvis, clad in black and oozing rugged sex appeal. It was Elvis in his TV special after making all those horrible movies. It was Elvis before the drugs and booze and fried food had turned him into a joke. Neither one of them felt much after the collision. Jacob fought to keep his eyes open long enough to see the lights coming up the road. He closed his eyes before he heard the sirens. Malorie didn’t bother, figuring she should sleep until help arrived.

     The police showed up first. The ambulance was next but was as useless as a maternity ward at a retirement home. Dispatch calls were made, families were notified, and everybody cordoned stood in the center of the road waiting for the fire department to release the bodies from the wreckage. Blood looks like spilled oil on asphalt. The fire truck arrived last, rolling over Elvis and crushing the King.


Leave a Reply