Chris Sheehan

As she positions herself on the bench seat, he feels the need to talk about himself, the odds of a hundred-year storm, maybe rehash the moment his dinner-talk narrowed down to dump-runs, the quality of base-rock at Syar, which cities require slurry; he remembers her, remembers her smoking a cigarette at a rest-stop picnic-table somewhere in the redwoods, remembers her waving from the mudflats, a thumb turned toward the occasional traffic as the coastal breeze, tensed through the near eucalyptus belt, pushed her blonde hair across her face; sometimes younger, trashy, haggard, older, petite, thick-in-the-hips, drunk, flat-chested, strung-out -- pale and wet, tight white shorts, a tattered-white boy-cut tank-top and black bra, dirty-blonde as she looks ahead to the near defile, as the road eases from the reservation valley, scrap-metal, damp mustard-grass, as he listens to the familiar engine-tick, listens to the plastic sound the whiskey makes as it moves between them, listens as she says her name, Gretchen, as she says she can be honest too, as she says, You can call me Gretch.