She never misses church on Sunday, leads Wednesday night Bible Study class. Her kids call her a holy roller. When her husband moves south, she starts a Christian Online Dating Service, screen name is kittykitty. She struggles between saving money for Botox or Jesus.
He’s been burned so many times he’s crispy. Downs Miller six-packs at the Trysting Place Pub. Writes sonnets that he’ll burn later in the firepit. Waiting for money at the ATM, he wants to remove his heart-shaped tattoo, cover it up with a pitchfork.
What the hell kind of name is Penfield? she wonders while he takes a leak off the back porch. She leans to see fresh bruises in the dawn’s early light. She rolls too far, ends up on the bamboo-planked floor, giggling. Creepy-crawls under the bed to dial 911 on her mobile phone.
He can’t recall the last time he was paid. Money doesn’t grow on trees, his mother had told him. And yet, he glances out the fingerprint-smudged patio door and there, in place of leaves on his prized beech, are hundred dollar bills fluttering like iris in the lukewarm breezes.
Those first days back. Horrible insomnia. 2 a.m. in their guest room, night sweats, bombs bursting in mid-air attacks. No proof, except those hacked memories he wishes he could erase. But he can’t. He opens the adjacent bedside table, retrieves his dog tags. Cradles them in his palm.