Little Lies: Emily and the Desert

Night ride out of the Desert
Emily scanned the horizon with a hand shielding her eyes from the sun. The land was flat and brown for just about forever as far as she could tell. She got back on her bike, revved the engine and left a cloud of dust to settle over the man she’d left behind. The vultures had been circling for a while already, and if he was lucky, he wouldn’t wake up.

She kept the sunset on her left until she hit the main road, then headed west. In her backpack, she carried her lifeline — a small brown package worth more money than she ever dreamed of. It was dark when she arrived in the tiny border town and walked into a bar, the type of place with two regulars who are both relatives of the bartender and all the other patrons are tumbleweeds. The man at the bar recognized her. Vick was good looking for a town this small, which made him the kind of guy Emily did not trust but enjoyed being around nonetheless.

Emily took a seat at a booth by herself to drink her beer. She sat facing the door and just watched, half expecting to have been followed here. Vick put a song on the jukebox. It didn’t suit her. He sashed past her table with mop in hand and danced lasciviously around it as he cleaned the floor. Emily wished she could laugh. “Fuck off, Vick,” she said with a grimace. “Today’s been shit.”

“Aw, it can’t be that bad,” he said.

“I left him out there,” she said nodding toward the door.

Vick dropped the act, looked at the door, then at Emily’s face. “Shit, really?”

Emily nodded. Vick set down his mop, poured himself a beer and returned to join Emily at her table. He sat across from her, put his elbows on the table, and stared into her face.

“He’s dead, huh?”

“Pretty sure,” she said.

“You need money?”

“No.”

“Got a place to go?”

“Yeah.”

Vick nodded, sipped his beer, kept looking at her.

“I know I did the right thing,” she said.

“Not everybody’s gonna agree.”

She nodded. “Have you seen him in here lately?”

“Yeah. He got drunk as a skunk last night and left with some shady guy from out of town. Guy said he was giving him a ride home, but who knows what happened out there?”

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