Rod and Gun Club
He met her at the Rod and Gun Club the afternoon of the raid. His suit was too warm for the weather, and the large stains on his chest resembled prehistoric wings. She wore a sleeveless dress with an unraveling hem. When he told her he was from Coral Gables, she considered the recording device she found in her living room.
In the Graham Olafson room, the ladies luncheon was adjourning, and latecomers cast a bitter eye toward the bar. The others foraged for their lipstick and imaginary valet tickets. On the veranda, criminals tested the floorboards and memorized exit signs, their fingers stained with French tobacco and grease.
He confessed his loathing for the transportation authority and protest songs. She said, “I don’t want to make any effort” when he offered to buy her a second round. She wiped her forehead with her handkerchief, as if to suggest she already had. He gave her a history of the place, of Parker (the “gimp” grandson) Olafson’s backwater deals and his wife’s infidelities, of Louisiana boys pickled by sun and water, found in the glades.
The industrial dishwasher clamored in the kitchen and the old cook leaned against it and smoked his last cigarette of the day. Outside, herons patrolled the tributary, and cypress trees dug their roots into its murky green water. In the parking lot, black sedans eased onto the property, their iridescent bodies signaling, for the drivers and passengers within them, elation and fear and promise.
She excused herself. In the ladies room, she itemized signs of her misfortune. Lace underwear, slackened hem, lipstick on teeth. In four hours she would be on a plane to Buenos Aires and she would have everything she wanted, everything all at once. But first she had to get him to take her to the beach. She checked her reflection and ran a comb through her hair. Behind her, tapioca curtains parted in a breeze.
In the sunroom, a couple argued over politics for the benefit of their daughter, who sided with her father on civil liberties, her mother taxes. At the next table, a former diplomat half-listened while she ate her plate of shrimp scampi and surveyed the two men outside, walking the perimeter, their guns held close to their chests. She was overcome with longing for the country she once represented and the many twilight evenings that began and ended in this precise manner, armed men on beautiful grounds.
The wait staff rolled carts of laminated desserts over faded oriental carpeting that bunched and knotted, causing plates of key lime pie and death by chocolate to hop in unison. In the upstairs office, the manager and bartender documented their contraband under “kitchen supplies”— each hoping the other would come closer, closer. The afternoon sun abated and the air conditioning felt chilly in the dimming rooms. People declined refills of iced-tea and water, requesting coffee instead.
Receivers murmured commands. Infrared lights danced in and out of shadows. Agents signaled to the guests, down. A rope was hung over the balcony and doors opened and closed. Some tripped on the carpeting, others urinated. Steps quickened in the hall. On the water, a retiree cut his engine and was shot by two guns.
She drove him down a dirt road onto a private lot. They held hands on the narrow path that led to glistening water beneath an orange sky. He took her in his arms. While he unbuttoned her dress, she pulled him down and under. He lay beneath her, his erection large and urgent. She stabbed him in his abdomen with a Buck knife, thankful for the salty air on her breasts. She removed his wallet and stood up, the sand cold on her stockinged feet. Rubbing her shoulder, stiff from an old injury, she pitched the wallet toward the horizon, to join the distant spoils of the sea.
About the author:
Marcelle Heath has a MA from University of Rochester and teaches English at University of Northern Colorado. Her previous work has appeared in Rocky Mountain Bullhorn and at Mississippireview.com. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and is currently working on her first novel.