Short Story: Loretta and Mick
“Are you sure we're not lost?" Loretta whined, straining against her seat belt as she shifted position again. The passenger seat squeaked in time with her movement. “I don’t recognize anything out the window.” Mick snorted, "Yes, dear, we are not lost." He ran a hand through his curly hair, as he continued with obvious patience, "I told you, this is a short cut from the bar to the party. You’ve never driven here before, so far as I know." “But I can only see crops and fences, not even a real farmhouse. I’m already freezing cold, and we haven't seen another car for the past twenty miles," Loretta droned on, squirming more before fiddling with the air vents before returning to her vigil at the window. The engine groaned as Mick stepped heavier on the accelerator, focusing his attention on the road in front. "I know, dear, that the heater for the car is broken again. I told you to wear a warmer coat for tonight." Loretta scoffed, "I know that the heater is broken. It’s always broken.” She shot a quick glare at Mick. “My warmer coat wouldn't do. I told you, this is a special occasion, so I had to wear my fancy coat." She wiggled more in the seat, jiggling a tune from the seat's springs. "After all, it's not everyday-" “For the love of God!" Mick burst out, "Would you please sit still! You're driving me crazy!" He hit the On button, then twirled the know, looking for a good radio station. "Sorry," Loretta mumbled, facing the dirty window again. "But it feels like I'm sitting on a pincushion." "A pincushion?" Mick sneered, running his hand through his curly hair again. "Wait - are you sitting on my brus-" A reverberating thump echoed, as the car bounced a foot or so into the air before landing harshly with a swerving screech. Mick slammed his foot on the brake, steering into the fishtail as the car came to an abrupt halt. The slow ticking of the car engine cooling off filled the silence. "Well, that was interesting," Mick muttered to himself, still breathing heavy. "Interesting?!" Loretta screeched, "You call that interesting?" She threw the door open, stomping through the frost to round the front of the car, casting a strange shadow up the road. "I am not driving one more foot with you, Mick, until you tell me how much you had to drink before we left!" "What?!" Mick exploded from the car, slamming the door hard enough to rock the car on its tires. "You think I'm drunk? Are you out of your blooming mind?" Loretta crossed her arms over her chest. "No, I am not out of my mind. You just murdered some innocent animal, running it over, because you could not wait to have a beer until we drove all the way over to Tara's vacation house." Mick stood, flabbergasted, his face turning alternately red and white while his hands crunched into fists. He began speaking in a low voice, "Why, you ungracious little snot..." Loretta shrieked, "What did you call me?", punctuating each word with a poke into Mick's chest. Mick slapped away Loretta's hand, growling, "I called you an ungracious snot, because here I am driving you out to your friend's house for a party, and you accuse me of drunk driving! You know how I feel about drunk driving! And Tara!" "I know what you claim to feel about drunk driving!" Loretta retorted, as she crossed her arms over her chest again. "But that doesn't help that animal you just ran over!" Mick stomped to the back of the car, scanned the ground pointedly, then huffed, "Where! Where is this supposed dead animal?” He flapped his arms around, looking up and down the road, looking everywhere but at Loretta. “Do you see one, because I don't!" "It's right over-" Loretta stormed over to the road, but stopped short as she reached the back of the car. "Well, it should be right here." She took a deep breath, blowing out a puff of steam. "I guess that poor animal didn't die." "Or maybe there was no animal," Mick shot back, poking Loretta in her arm. "Maybe there was a branch in the road that rolled away after we drove over it. Maybe if you walked your fat ass down the road a bit, you’d find a dip in the road that we hit. Or maybe I'm not the one who had a drink before we left." He roared the last sentence, finally crossing his arms over his chest in triumph. Loretta glanced down the road, then back to the car, avoiding Mick’s glare. "I'm not driving. It doesn't matter if I had a drink," she sniffed, as she quietly climbed back into the car.