“I’m pregnant,” I say.
Patty’s face crumples like the back of the hatchback. “I had a little
something this morning, but it’s been hours. I’m working on it, Iris. I
would never get in the car in that condition. I swear.”
I reach to rub my palm against her back, and she lets me. Then she
pulls herself up, sucks in air, and calls AAA. This might be that bury-
the-hatchet moment. We might never talk about the book again. It could
be like the wreck when we were kids. Like the guitar.
The billboards for the film will be incredible. A big-shot actor with
commanding eyebrows will play the father. He’ll wear a flannel shirt.
Rough blue jeans. Melasma washes over his cheeks. They will give him
a brutish hobby. He will hunt or fix motorcycles, appearing in most
scenes coated in black grease, wiping his hands menacingly with a rag.
The mother will be a ghost, a shred of lace hanging in a window. The
two young actresses will smack their glossy lips—the jeans replaced by
something sluttier. Schoolgirl uniforms: white knee socks, pink thighs.
Maybe they will have a puppy. Some impractical inbred thing, tongue
splayed, spit pooling at their feet. I will tell my daughter they got it all
wrong. We never had a dog.
Thea Chacamaty is a writer from California. She received her
MFA in fiction from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the
University of Michigan, where she is currently a postgraduate
Zell Fellow. She has been the recipient of the Hopwood Award in
short fiction, the Kasdan Scholarship for screenwriting, and the
Henfield Prize. This is her first publication.