I go out in the country where all the antique and junk sellers are, the places she’s always taking off to now that I’m retired. I think I can get her a load of that stuff and surprise her with it, maybe figure out what she’s mad about this time. I pick out what looks like what she’s always bringing home, get it loaded into the pickup, and pull out onto the highway. Wham, a grocery van hits me. All our both of us’s stuff goes everywhere. Lettuce, beveled glass, tomatoes, ball and claw feet, bananas and mirrors—it is a tossed salad all over the highway. We get it all sorted out after a while, numbers exchanged and glass out of our hair.
I get home with an end table, the only thing that came through not turned into a jigsaw puzzle, and what does she do? She opens its drawer and there’s an orange in it. Tangerine, she says, happy as a schoolgirl. A Clementine. She tells me the difference, explains how they are grown in Spain and are loved for their sweetness and lack of seeds. She goes on about that part of the world, talking about how the cathedrals are made of real stone, and the light is different, and how she knows now she will never get to see any of it. And I say, The Truck, the truck looks like a tractor now, and you’re excited about—and she eats it. Pushes her thumbs in and gouges it open. She looks at each section before she puts it in her mouth, like something might be different about the next one when they are all the same.
Daryl Scroggins taught creative writing and literature at the University of North Texas, and now lives in Marfa, Texas. His brief prose has appeared recently in Cutbank, New Flash Fiction Review, Eastern Iowa Review, and Blink Ink.
See more of his work in issue 6.2 here and here and in Special Flash issue 50/50 here and here