Flash Fiction

Poop Sprinkler

We were halfway between McMinnville and Lincoln City when the smell of shit overwhelmed us. It was overwhelming, this smell of shit, when the windows were up more than when they were down. The smell was potent enough to cover twenty years of stale cigarette smoke in the car. It was strong enough to cover the smell that had been affecting us negatively, the smell coming from the trunk.

“Fertilizer,” I said. “I guess.”

He fussed with the radio’s dial. We picked up a preacher’s sermon and then a talk radio station.

“I don’t think I’ve listened to AM radio even once in my life,” I said.

“It’s an old car,” Bobby said.

“We can walk back from Newport,” I said. “Shouldn’t take too long.”

“Four, five days,” Bobby said. He sighed. “I don’t want to do that.”

“I don’t really want to either,” I said. It was true, I didn’t even want to walk from my apartment on 23rd Ave to the bar on 17th when Bobby called. It’s not that I’m lazy, it was just that it was raining when he called.

“You still see Deborah?” Bobby asked.

“Rebekah,” I said.

“Oh, sorry,” he said “They’re both Biblical names.”

“She moved back to Vermont.”

“No shit,” he said. “So, you’re not seeing her anymore?”

“She comes from a really pretty place outside of Montpelier,” I said. “She didn’t ask me to move back with her, but I would have.”

“I’m glad you didn’t.” Bobby said.

“Jesus,” I said. We’d just taken a large curve and the massive field sprinkler just came into view. “Look at that,” I said.

“Fuck,” Bobby said. He pulled the old car to the side of the road. “A fucking poop sprinkler,” he said.

“It’s the way they fertilize, I guess,” I said.

“Never seen anything like it,” he said.

We stared, dumbfound, at the scene, the poop sprinkler, the brown liquid coming from it and the field around it. A few cars passed us. Our engine idled, but on the whole, it was quiet enough that the sound of the AM radio static mixed with the low frequency words was still audible.

“Let’s leave the body here,” I said.

“Naw,” he said. “What about the car?”

“It smells so bad here, and hell, there’s probably enough worms and bugs and bacteria and shit decomposing this thing will be real quick.”

“What about the car?” he asked again.

“Fuck it. Let’s dump it in the woods.”

“Let’s stick to the plan,” he said.

It had been my desire to help Bobby hide a body. It really had been. But that was before, before when I still thought it would be glamorous rather than a drag, the drag it really was.

“Vermont?” he asked, as he pulled the car slowly back on the road.

“Yeah,” I said. “I’ll miss her.”

“I had no idea she came from Vermont, she struck me as the kind of person who came from a warm place. A desert maybe, like Arizona.”

“I miss how dirty she was, you know?” I said.

“No,” he said.

“Filthy. Kinky. She was kind of scary, but I liked it.”

“Yeah, maybe you shouldn’t tell me more.”

“You’re right Bobby,” I said.

We ate chowder in an Irish Pub in Nye Beach. We spoke in low whispers and for no real reason because we really weren’t talking about anything.

In Medford, Bobby worked in a movie theater. And as interesting as that may seem, he said it was a boring job. My list of boring jobs was even longer, and they were all so boring that I thought the popping of popcorn and the tearing of tickets sounded pretty good.

“So,” he said once we left the pub. “We drive to the other side of town, park the car.”

“Right,” I said. I’d heard all this before. “It gets dark near 3:00,” I added.

“Right,” he said. “And the waves of the tsunami ought to hit the coast sometime in the early evening.”

“And we push the car.”

“Right,” he said.

“Let’s stop talking about it,” I said. “Let’s just do this.”

We waited in a biker’s bar in Newport drinking yellow beers and tossing darts. There wouldn’t be a bus back to Portland until morning, 7:30 and the bar, should it stay open to 2:30 would leave us outside and on the streets for five, wet, dark hours.

“Do you read books?” Bobby asked.

“No, not really,” I said. “Why’d you ask?”

“I read books once.”

“Interesting,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. “I was once in Greece. I read every day.”

“Poetic,” I said. “You only read in Greece?”

“I guess it’s only because I had no one to talk to.”

“That makes sense,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. He rolled a dart around in his fingers. “I’m thinking about picking up reading again.”

After leaving his job at the sweatshop manufacturing decorative pillows, Anthony ILacqua became an out of print author of two books you’ve probably never read. He co-founded Umbrella Factory Magazine in 2009 and has remained the editor in chief since. His short fiction has most recently appeared in Stimulus Respond, Unlikely Stories and Lumiere. Meet him here: http://anthonyilacqua.blogspot.com