on the road

by James

The pork was four hours in the oven and she was onto the avocados when he called. He told her about the manic traffic outside of Calais, but nothing of Dover, no grin in his voice how’d cut across back roads to Folkstone, how even now he was a mere two hours from home.

She said, ‘Babe, where are you?’

Dunc said, ‘Listen, Kenny called.’

She set down the phone. She fetched out white from the fridge, poured a glass. She looked at the split avocado, already brown starting to creep across the flesh. Homemade guac to go with pulled pork fajitas and nachos topped with cheese.

Back to the fridge with its bright letter magnets on the door spelling out “seven years, eight months”. Dunc was now saying, ‘-no brainer, right? Across to Dusseldorf, then Rotterdam to Hull. What is that, four days paid for eight? And double rate, and it’s-‘

She said, ‘Just tell me.’

Now the grin was in his voice. ‘You at the fridge, babe? Change it. Seven years, seven months till the mortgage is paid.’

Two glasses and half the nachos later she was at the computer in the dining room to look up episodes of The Wire so they could talk about them the next day. It wasn’t a conscious thing, signing in to Skype as a Xxxx_Foxy, but she did it and there it was. AngelXlover was online.

He said nothing as she read through the plot summaries, silence from him as she got into the production notes until at last Skype chimed up.

One word only. Horny?

Still a thrill to read that.

She said: Always.

He said: What’s the story?

She was Tatjana, wife to a husband who killed for the Russian president. He was Lars, the nineteen year old pool boy from Finland. But there was a problem. Did he know anything about the rare Faberge lighter gone missing from her bureau?

She typed one handed, left hand switching between wine glass and the top button of her jeans that was digging in the nacho tight flesh around her middle. When Lars took his shirt off she finally popped the button, the zip down the front running open all the way by itself.

Lars was down to his underwear when her phone began to ring.

Dunc said, ‘Surprise! Go to the kitchen.’

No way, could he? She shuffled through into the kitchen, phone in her right hand, her left doing a terrible job of corralling her sagging jeans. No romance in Dunc’s soul but still she sighed relief at the empty kitchen.

Dunc said, ‘That horse I’ve been watching, eighteen to one shot, but it came in and I put on a hundred. You know what that means?’

It meant free money. It meant a holiday. It meant a new carpet in the dining room. Her feet began to beat a tattoo on the tiled floor.

Dunc said, ‘That’s right, babe. Go on, do it. Seven years and four months.’