After Sally left work at Spearwood Dental she took the chicken dinners from IGA’s deli counter across town to the sheet metal plant where her boyfriend worked swing shift. Unlike Sally, her boyfriend grew up in Spearwood—so did his wife—so we’ll call him Lucky. Lucky smoked by the fence while he waited, rocking from his heels and catching himself on his toes. Sally parked in the stall farthest from the plant door and let him in the passenger side. She always gave him her chicken skins and a blow job. Some of us changed dentists because of Sally: she would not be sliding strands of floss between our husbands’ teeth, thank you very much. Others made unnecessary appointments, waiting for the chance to spit in front of her, to laugh, laugh on the inside at least. Once, at The Shay Bar and Restaurant, Sally told the hostess someone else would be coming and the hostess laughed out loud. After someone left a bottle of mouthwash in her glovebox Sally started locking her blue Elantra, something Spearwood prides itself on making unnecessary. We noticed the color had left her complexion. She put on more makeup to cover herself, but that made us look closer, close enough to count the grooves in her lips. Sally gained weight—we wonder if she’s been eating her own chicken skins. She hasn’t been back to the parking lot in weeks. Lucky still smokes during his break, rocking back and forth in that boyish way of his, probably waiting for the next stranger. Sally goes straight home from the dentist’s office. She lives in Pine Manor, Unit C, Apartment 220. Her bedroom window’s on the corner, farthest from the orange streetlight, the one with the new blackout curtains.
John Carr Walker’s story collection Repairable Men was published by Sunnyoutside in 2014. Lately, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gimmick Press, Shantih, Hippocampus, Gravel, Five:2: One, The Toasted Cheese, Inlandia, Split Lip, The Collagist, and Pithead Chapel. A native of California’s San Joaquin Valley , he now lives in northwest Oregon.