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Manual Transmission
by Mary Lynn Reed

I've got my hand on the gear shift, foot on the clutch. She leans in, grips my collar through the open window. Tell me, she says. Tell me you don't love me. I'm relieving the tension, slightly. On the clutch. Her fingers in my hair, she's clawing the nape of my neck. Penetrating my skin. Why, she asks. Why? I press the accelerator, balancing left with right, rev the engine; stay put. She's kissing me. Unbuttoning my shirt. I put it in gear. Inch forward. She clenches, digs into my shoulder blades. You're cruel, she says. Heartless. I engage the clutch, pop out of gear. Then the brake. Alternate back and forth. Jerking her from there to here, back again. Her pupils widen. No, she says. It's what you want, I say. Isn't it? What you'll allow? She's pushing herself through the window. Sobbing. Get out, I say. Tell me. Get out. Tell me. I disengage. The engine dies. She never lets go.

About the author:
Mary Lynn Reed's short fiction is forthcoming in
The MacGuffin, Karamu, and Happy. Her work has also appeared online at FRiGG, Smokelong Quarterly, and elimae, among other places. She is currently working on a novel (or two).

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Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca


The Suburban Swindle

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