Riptide
by Marion Smith

Chapter 2 

[p.9]The sun is low in the sky. I’m driving south on the interstate, in a trance. No regret. It seems like a macabre joke.

Our timing was perfect. Barely five minutes later, Chris had pulled up in my grey Subaru. He helped me put the bloody cloths and gloves and my shirt in a paper sack. My jeans were o.k., not a spot. Chris said he’d burn the sack up the canyon after dark, after his meeting.

He didn’t say much. “Are you all right?” He didn’t look in the car. We checked the gravel all the way back to the concrete. He’d brought a broom. No tire marks that we could see. He waited until there was no traffic before he pulled back onto the freeway toward Salt Lake. He drove quickly to his office building. Neither of us spoke.

“Good luck. I’m with you all the way.” He hugged me hard before I climbed in the driver’s seat. Only then did I start to shake. “Tell Jeanne to drive carefully and drink a lot of coffee. Tell her not to call me even from a pay phone unless there’s a problem.”

“Yeah. She hates coffee. Bye. Chris—thanks.” I listened to the radio, All Things Considered, all the way to Provo. They talked about more negotiations in Bosnia. I heard them interview a country singer.

It’s 6:30; I’m almost to Nephi Would anyone believe the names of these little Utah towns? I haven’t gone over 64—kept my [p.10]promise to Duncan. I need to go to the bathroom and get a Diet Coke.

It’s dusk. I pick at a hamburger I got in Nephi. The radio is off. I’m not shaking anymore. I’m not sick. I’m tired. Dead tired.

Mostly I want quiet while I drive and think. Think harder than I ever have. Remember. Remember honestly as I can. Go over it all again one last time.