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Can’t Be Helped



You have every reason to be angry, dear. I know, I know. But, hold on now, let me talk. I know but hear me out. But it wasn’t my fault. It just wasn’t. See, the truck broke down. How could I help that? The truck broke down and there was nowhere else to go.

But it was the only place around for miles. I know what the place is but it was the only place around and the truck broke down and it was cold and I, eh, it, it just couldn’t be helped. Sometimes these things happen. They do. Honest to God, I didn’t seek the place out. I’m telling you the truth. Would I lie to you?

Ah, c’mon now, don’t be a-mud raking.

So, the truck broke down, there wasn’t another place around there for miles and it was cold. You know how cold it was. Bone-freezingly cold; a real witch’s tit out there. Poor choice of words. Sorry. So, we went in. What else could we do? Wait outside in the cold? In the truck that wouldn’t start? No, c’mon now, be reasonable. We went inside and you probably would’ve too. Don’t give me that look. We both know how much you don’t like the cold, now imagine how cold it was for me to want to go inside. See? So, we went inside and had us a few. Just to shiver the cold off, give us a little warmth.

Of course, I was looking. There wasn’t nothing else to set your eyes on in there. You know that. It’s the shock value of the place, really, not so much the dancers, women, I mean. You can’t help but double-take if somebody is up above you gyrating as naked as the day is plain. You can’t. I’m sorry.

They must’ve put something in my drink or the tap was off or poisoned or something. I’m telling you the truth. Would I lie to you? I don’t remember much else after that. Next thing I know, I’m sitting in the back of a police car with the world’s biggest goddamn headache and a swollen eye. Look at this thing! And it’s been a few hours. Should’ve seen it when it was fresh. Big as mother loving grapefruit.

No. No, I’m not sure exactly. They said they told me then and read me my rights but I don’t remember none of it. Bailiff said they’d read me the charges when I go before Judge Williams in the morning. That’s when bail’ll be set. Hey, think your momma could help us out? I mean, how am I supposed to go to work and pay the bills when I’m stuck in here, right? Truck’s gotta fixed too. Can’t be helped. Have you told her yet? What’d you say? She’ll be helping the family out. That’s what family’s for, right?

This story was written by A.S. Coomer, who is a writer. He likes cats, tacos, books & comics. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in issues of Red Fez, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Literary Orphans Journal, The Quill, Blotterature, GFT Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, Oxford Magazine, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Heater, The Broadkill Review, Degenerate Literature, The Merida Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, 101 Words, Intrinsick Magazine and Serving House Journal, to name a few.  Click here to check out his website, and click here to check out his "record label" for poetry.
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