Ted reminded Lisa in the morning, as he knotted his tie in the hotel room, that Dave had said that she could have the car today, the car being the Mercedes with the chauffeur paid for by the company in which Ted was driven to the plant every morning.

“Okay,” she said.

“I’ll send Jorge right back so he should be in front of the hotel at nine fifteen.  Is that too early?”

“No, I should be ready,” she said.

“If not, call down to the desk and tell them to tell him to wait.  That’s what he’s paid for.”

“I’ll be ready,” she said.


            Jorge was slender, dark, handsome.  He looked like a kid in his white t-shirt and jeans, athletic shoes.  He drove the Mercedes roughly, with jerking gear shifts, head-rocking acceleration and stops.  Once out of the congested streets and tall buildings of the Makati financial district, he drove fast through winding streets lined with greenery, palms, flowering vines, high stone walls.  At an intersection, some young men slouched in front of the dark door of a dingy mercado hooted at him.  “Hey, Jorge, nice car!” “Give me a ride, hey, Jorge?”  He ignored them, slim brown arm cocked on the open window frame, high cheek-boned face impassive.  When the light turned green, he floored it.  Lisa’s purse slid to the footwell.  She bent to pick it up, wondering if she should tell him to slow down, just as she wondered if she should have sat in the front seat, or, like this, awkwardly, in the back seat.  Well, either way, it would have been uncomfortable, sitting so close to his silent, dark profile or, back here, watching it from an angle, wondering if she should talk, or ask questions about Manila (she had many), or just give orders.  She scrunched her fingers over the clasp of her purse.  She didn’t like being the master.  She was an American.

Jorge turned left on a street lined with dingy, cream-colored buildings.  “Zoo,” he said.  It was where she had wanted to go.

She got out.  Jorge sat slouched in the front.  She was glad he did not seem inclined to leap out and open the car door for her.

She crunched past him in the gravel.  When she reached the hood of the car, she stopped, turned.  “Do you want to come in?” she said.

He looked at her, impassive.

“I’ll pay,” she said, then blushed furiously.

A slender shoulder raised itself.  He got out of the car.


            The zoo was a dispirited collection of cement barriers and cages.  Jorge lit a cigarette and sauntered along behind her.   They stopped at the giraffe enclosure.  It had been built like a pit, so that the giraffe stood almost a story below the level of the zoo path, so its head was at the same level as a standing adult.  It had a large, curling tongue, thick black eyelashes, those funny knobs on top.

Lisa tore off a small branch from a tree in the enclosure and held it out to the animal.  It leaned close, opened its white lips, spiraled its tongue, and tore the leafy branch from Lisa’s hand and chewed it, jaws gyrating.  Jorge laughed.

They wandered down the path.  The day was getting hot.  Lisa saw a chimp hunched on a large, dry branch in a cage directly in front of them.  They stood in front of the cage.  The chimp sat, shoulder to them, picking at strips of bark with long, curled fingers.

“Hello,” Lisa said in a high voice.  “Hello, chimp-an-zee!  How are you?”

Jorge snorted.  The chimp picked at the dry shreds of bark.

“Hello!”  Lisa said in her high voice.  “Nice chimp!  How are you?”

The chimp’s eyes flicked to her.  They were the color of a chestnut horse’s flank, reddish brown, deep.

“I wish we had some leaves to give him,” Lisa said to Jorge.  “Or some fruit.”

Jorge didn’t say anything.  Lisa wondered how much English he knew.   She put her fingers through the bars.  “Nice chimp,” she said.

A lid came down over the brown eye.  Then the animal leaped, sinewy, hairy arms upraised, human-like torso, bent haunches, right at her.

She screamed.  The ape screamed, too, spread-eagled upright on some inner bars she hadn’t noticed, then bounced left to the bars there, to the barred ceiling of the cage, to the back bars, human-like hands and feet splayed, a hoarse, high scream coming between gritted, large white teeth, lips curled back.

“Ihinto!  Ihinto!” yelled a voice and Lisa saw a slender, concave-chested zookeeper in white shirt and blue shorts raise a metal rod.

The chimpanzee screamed again, throwing its head back and opening its mouth wide, rectangular teeth and pink, thick tongue exposed.

The zookeeper slammed the rod against the inner bars.  “Ihinto!  Payapain!  Payapain!” he yelled, and raked the rod across the bars, then raised it again and slammed it onto the bars right in front of the animal’s face, over and over again, until the ape was silent, staring, his reddish eyes fixed and glazed-looking, his long hairy hands curled over the bars.

The zookeeper lowered his rod.  “Ihinto.  Ay tahimik,” he said to the ape then turned to Lisa and smiled.  “Sorry,” he said.  “I take care.”  He touched his cap and for a moment Lisa wondered if he wanted to be tipped.  No, couldn’t be.  She stared at the zookeeper until he said something else in Tagalog and backed away.  Jorge lit another cigarette.  The chimpanzee breathed silently in his cage.  She could see his chest rising.

Jorge ambled to the next cage where a peacock, tail draped sideways behind him like a woman’s train, called plaintively.   It was what she wanted, Jorge out of earshot.  She had a fear that he would mock her.  She turned back to the chimpanzee cage.  The ape had not moved.

“I’m sorry,” she said to the chimp.  The eyelids slid over the chestnut orbs again.  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.  She felt like crying.  She gripped the bars in front of her.  The lids slid closed then up again.  She looked up the dusty path to the peacock cage.  Jorge was not there.  She saw him by a water fountain, leaning against a low fence, watching her.

There was a small movement.  She looked back at the cage, then flinched.  The chimpanzee’s head was thrown back like before, his mouth open, those long, square-edged teeth and pink upper lip exposed, rows of molars, the wet, rose-colored bed of the tongue, the mouth open wide, screaming, screaming, without sound.


The smog hung heavily above the wall surrounding the outdoor pool of the hotel.  It had changed the composition of the saliva in Lisa’s mouth, making it thicker, more viscous, with the taste of diesel.  She coughed, once, then lay back on the chaise longue.

Penny shifted forward, her auburn ponytail draped over her tanned shoulder. “It’s the smog.  It’s so thick you could tar the road with it.”

“I taste it,” Lisa said.  “It’s in my mouth.  I feel . . . invaded.”

Penny laughed.  “You’re funny.  Invaded.”  She settled back in her deck chair.  “I wish my mouth would get invaded.  It’s been awhile.”

Lisa flushed.  “Isn’t Roger in town?” then blushed even deeper at Penny’s laugh.

“Husbands don’t count.”  She lolled her head over in Lisa’s direction.  “Except for yours, maybe.  Ted’s pretty cute.  He looks like the groom on top of those wedding cakes, you know, those little dolls with their neat mustaches and perfectly parted hair?  That’s what Ted looks like.”

Lisa didn’t say anything.  She felt drained, limb-limp. Her eyes slid sideways to Penny, who looked irritatingly perky, tanned legs crossed, only a very slight bulge — quite natural, really — of soft stomach over her bikini bottom, swelling cleavage, crisp white overshirt, unbuttoned, white mock cowboy hat shading her long red hair, her careful makeup.  They were the same age, Lisa knew, twenty-five, Ted had told her in his pitch about how great it was going to be, living in the Philippines.  The same age, but Penny looked like a woman, bigger, with assertive, tanned flesh, and Lisa like a child, soft, thin and white, in her pale, flowered bathing suit.

Penny was talking, the sound of her voice rising and falling like the tiny wavelets on the pool’s surface, the result of an old lady’s methodical trolling.

“You’ll like it here, Lisa.  I know you will.  You’ll see the entire East free – they take us on all their longer business trips.  And the best hotels, the best dining.  And the shopping.  My God.  The jewelry, Lisa.  You won’t believe the prices.  Rosewood furniture.  Exquisite pieces.  For a song.  And…”  She scraped her chair sideways and leaned forward.  “Don’t tell Ted I said this, but if you agree to this transfer, it will mean a lot for Ted’s future. I’m not supposed to say that, remember, but…”

Yes, you are, Lisa thought.  That’s exactly what you’re supposed to say.

Her eyes felt seared from the sun’s glare.  She felt a tear ooze from the corner of her eye and put a finger up under her glasses.

“You all right?” Penny said.

“The sun,” Lisa mumbled.

“Go in, then,” Penny said, patting her shoulder.  “Why don’t you get your hair done in the salon?  This is a pretty important dinner tonight.  You’ll want to look your best.  Do you want us to swing by with the car to pick you up?”

“We’re going over to Dave’s house first for a drink,” Lisa said.

“Oh,” Penny said.  “That will be nice.  Check out his carved, rosewood coffee table.  It’s exquisite.  He got it in Indonesia.  It’s exactly what I’m talking about and he got it for nothing, practically.”  She winked.  “I know.  I helped him pick it out.”

The wink startled Lisa.  She felt her face heat.  Did Penny know?

“We’ll see you at the restaurant, then.  Wear something nice.  If you don’t have something perfect, they have nice things here in the shop downstairs.  Pricey but.   .  . . quite nice.”  Penny waved and clicked away in her low-heeled wooden sandals.

Lisa dropped her arm heavily into her lap.  She would not go to the salon.  She would not get a dress.  She would not play the game.  Not yet.


            “Thanks,” Ted said to the sarong-skirted maid who led them into Dave’s living room and indicated a low sofa with a flat-palmed gesture that reminded Lisa of the urine-soaked panhandlers of San Francisco.

They sat down on the couch, Ted’s thigh in his creased khaki pants just about ten inches from the soft spread of Lisa’s in her white sheath with pale fern design.  She tucked her un-saloned short hair behind her ear, fingered a pearl drop earring.

“Mr. Dave be right here,” the maid said.

“Okay,” Ted said with his nervous laugh.

The maid backed away.  They said nothing.  A clock clicked away somewhere.  Lisa looked around and found, among the highly polished busts of women with flat, beautiful faces and naked breasts, among the serene stone Buddhas and other curios, a brass ship’s clock.  She remembered Dave had told her he’d been in the Navy, how much he loved to sail.  He had promised her a trip in the Bay on his sailboat.  It had never happened.

Ted lit a cigarette.  Lisa leaned back away from its stale miasma.  The clock ticked.  Ted leaned forward and tapped off his ash in a shell ashtray on the coffee table.  Oh, the coffee table.  She was supposed to be impressed by it.

It was of dark wood with a hint of red in it, round, large, maybe four feet across, highly polished in the center but carved intricately in a five-inch border.  Lisa scooted forward to examine the carvings.  Strange.  Figures, naked from the waist up in most cases, sometimes entirely naked, in strange, twisted positions, heads back, mouths open in snarls of anguish, legs and arms entwined in such snake-like distortion that you couldn’t tell what limb went with whom.  As if a whole village were entwined in a horrible battle of teeth and fingernail.  She scooted closer.  No, not fighting.  Not fighting at all.  Behind her, Ted sniggered.

“Great, isn’t it?”

She felt her face stupidly dye red and sat back against the cushions.

“I frigging told you, didn’t I?” she heard from through an arched doorway.  “I frigging told you if I had visitors to let me know right away, did . .  . I   . . frigging .   . not?”

She heard a small rasping sound and then saw Dave in profile, in crisp white sports coat, creased navy slacks, his small, neat face tanned, much more tanned than she’d last seen it in San Francisco, even the small bald spot at his pate tanned darker than his light brown hair, which was combed back in waves from his forehead.

“Answer me!” Dave said.  “Did I frigging tell you that or not?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dave,” and Lisa saw a flash of blue sarong, brown, bare legs, horned feet in sandals.

“And what frigging else did I tell you?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dave.”  Her voice was whispery, like sea-foam on sand.  Lisa saw a quick jerky motion upward of her hands.   The maid held them like she was praying.

“About the drinks, huh?  To serve drinks to guests if I’m not there?”

“Yes, the drinks, Mr. Dave.  I’ll get them.”  The maid stepped into Lisa’s view and, shoulders hunched, started to edge around Dave.

“No!” Lisa heard the crack of a slap and saw the maid’s dark head jerk sideways.  “I’ll get them now, you frigging idiot.  You get the hors d’ouevres.”  He leaned over her.  “Can you do that, you think?”

“Yes, Mr. Dave,” the maid said in a low voice.

“Go do it, then,” Dave said.  She scurried past him with scratching steps in her sandals.  His arm snapped out and he slapped her on her ass.

Ted giggled.  Dave turned smiling toward them and entered through the arched doorway.  “I apologize,” he said, spreading his hands.  “How long have you been sitting here drinkless?”

“Not long,” Lisa said at the same time Ted said, “Too long.”

Dave laughed.  “We’ll take care of that, then. But first, let me. .  . ”  He had moved smoothly across the room, around the round table, taken Lisa’s hand, raised her, then held her arm away from her body as if it interfered with his scrutiny, Lisa sure her exposed neck was blotchy with red, embarrassed patches.

“God!  It’s good to see you, Lisa.  Ted, my man, how do you keep your wife looking so damn good?”  Ted giggling and what she feared happening, Dave bending his head in a slow, graceful arc, everything as if he was dancing, and his lips on hers, he had very soft lips, he was a very good kisser, he was good at everything, and she felt her own lips part just a little and feel the twitch of his tongue.


            “Penny said I’d like Roxas Boulevard,” Lisa said to Jorge.  It was Manila’s famed shopping district.

“You want to shop?” Jorge said.  “Souvenirs?”

“No .   .  . I .   . “ She didn’t know what she wanted to do. She hated to shop.  She hated souvenirs.

“Angeles City better,” Jorge said.  The car sat idling under the hotel portico, Jorge smoking, his arm hanging down the side of the car and the smoke trailing up.

“I don’t know what that is,” she said.

“Clark Base,” Jorge said.

Oh, that was it.  Angeles City was the little civilian town next to the huge American Clark Air Force Base.  Dave and Ted had talked about it last night, exchanging looks and short, barking laughs.

“Okay,” she said.  “Angeles City is fine.”


Angeles City was not fine.  The gold Mercedes rolled along the brown dirt of the main street, lined with wooden buildings adorned with garish, painted signs:  “Love Shack.”  “Sugar Junction.”  “Lipstick a Go-Go.”  They seemed shut down, sleepy, at this time of day, the neon Budweiser and San Martin signs turned off.  One long-haired, thick-thighed girl in a green mini-skirt and black, halter top slouched barefoot against the doorway of  “Pearl’s Tiger Den.”  A naked baby played on the step at her feet.   In the distance, Lisa could see the gray gleam of fighter jets parked on a long, cement runway.  An American flag sagged on a post over the entrance gate to the base.

Lisa shifted forward from the back seat.  “This isn’t –“

“Shopping,” Jorge said, pointing left with his lit cigarette.  He dropped it to the street and used both hands to swing the car left down another dusty road, this one lined with wooden stores with dark interiors.  He pulled to the right hand side, under the one tree and braked.

She got out, as there didn’t seem anything else to do, and walked up the line of shops, her sandals puffing up reddish-brown dust.  She saw a blonde woman in a print summer dress ushering two children in shorts and t-shirts, a girl and a boy, along the street.  “Come on,” she said irritably.  “I’m hot.”

“That’s you if you come here,” Lisa told herself.

She ducked into a shop.  Woven placemats.  Lisa didn’t like them.  She smiled at the owner, a fat man wearing one of those ubiquitous short-sleeved white shirts, worn over the belt, and backed out.

She bought a wooden duck with six little wooden eggs sitting in a basket nest at the next shop.  She didn’t know why.  She bought a woven fan at another store, then, a little nervously, walked down a short, narrow, grass-roofed corridor to a dark shop set back a little from the dusty street.  A grinning, wooden elephant, the size of a small chair, greeted her at the entrance.  It had a monkey on its back.  The thin shopkeeper grasped the monkey and lifted it like a lid to show a cavity inside the elephant.

“A chest for medicine,” he said, smiling.

She smiled back.  It was a magical thing.  They both knew it.  She stroked the elephant’s ear, then stepped past to a table crowded with curios, small carvings, intricate nutcrackers, boxes with inlaid shells.  She picked up a knife with an ivory handle covered in intricate black designs.  She held it close to her eyes.  Tiny drawings of seals and igloos.  She looked up, puzzled, at the shopkeeper.

“Scrimshaw,” he said.

But scrimshaw was from Alaska.  How did it get here, in this dark shop on the other side of the world?  Sailors, maybe.  She flushed, remembering that Dave was a sailor.

“How much?” she said.


When she came back to the car, Jorge was asleep.  “Is that all?” he said.

She got in without answering, putting her packages next to her.  The Mercedes crunched down the brown dust road.

Once on the smooth highway, Jorge drove fast.  She put her hand on the padded upholstery next to her.  The car rocked.  She saw an arrow, the word Manila, on a green sign that flashed past.

“Wait,” she said.  “You’re going the wrong way.”

She saw the corners of his lips turn up.  Otherwise, he ignored her.  “Jorge,” she said.  “You have to turn back.”

“Look,” he said and pointed.

He was driving straight toward it, a mass of gray, roiling clouds and below, like a thin gray funnel or a young girl’s fat sausage curl, spun the tornado, tripping in a kind of sideways dance, like a male flamenco dancer, arms widespread, over the green fields.

“No!” she screamed, suddenly terror-stricken.  She heard the buffeting of winds against the closed windows of the Mercedes.  She saw the radio antenna rock.  Was it the wind of their speed or the violence of the tornado?  “Go back!” she screamed.

But Jorge only smiled again, the car rocketing along the road, the sound of the wind like a dull, soft roar outside the windows until he switched on the radio and the bubble-gum, cutesy imitation American rock sound that Filipinos seemed to adore, filled the padded interior of the car.  “It’s a small one,” Jorge shouted and twisted the radio dial to the right.  “I’ve got two boyfriends,” yammered the singers, “and I love them both the same.”


            “You’ll like this,” Dave said to her.  “You’re in a canoe in a river between steep walls with vines with monkeys swinging on them, just like the movies, and you actually get pushed upstream by these skinny Filipinos you wouldn’t think could screw a cap off a beer bottle.  It’s great.”

“The beer sounds great,” Ted said and laughed.

Dave leaned past Lisa to look at Ted.  “Something better for you, my man.  We stop at this little grass shack, I kid you not, right by the river, with pet monkeys on chains, and they split open a coconut for you and mix up the best goddamn pina colada you ever tasted, drunk from the shell.”

Lisa, in the back seat of the Mercedes between Dave on her left and Ted on her right, stared straight ahead.  Dave sat with his arm along the seatback behind her and his legs spread so his knee and thigh touched hers.

“It’s great,” Penny said from the front seat, between Jorge and her husband, Roger, a brooding, goon-like man who never said anything unless it was to deliver, apropos to nothing, an obscene joke, then lapse back into silence.   “Remember when you and I went, Dave, last summer?  You wouldn’t go,” she said to her husband, smacking his thick shoulder and mock-pouting.

Last summer?  That’s when she and Dave.  .  . Well, he was a busy boy, flying back and forth between San Francisco and Manila, screwing one of his employee’s wives on one continent and another on the other.

She remembered the lunches not eaten, the napkins dropped in plates, the credit card slips signed, how he always crumpled the transaction receipts as if he couldn’t be bothered with how much he spent, all he could think about was bed with her, his mouth between her legs.  She felt heat dye her neck and cheeks again, even in the blank coldness of the air-conditioned car.  He always made her do this, blush in embarrassment.  He shifted in the seat and his thigh pressed tighter against hers.  She felt a small, answering twitch between her legs.  He could read her thoughts, he always could.

“How far away is it?” she heard herself asking.  Her voice sounded high and breathy, as if she’d been running.

“Ah, we’ll be to the pina coladas in half an hour, if Jorge here keeps up this pace.”  Dave tweaked her right shoulder, the one on Ted’s side.  “Heard you guys saw a tornado yesterday.”

So Jorge had told.  About her screaming fear, too, probably.  Having fun at her expense, rocketing the car toward it as if he knew it would rise above the fields, as it did, taper off like thin smoke, the funnel absorbed into the bank of clouds.  Were there no secrets in this place, this depressing, awful place, with its hot, damp clouds pressing down on the dispirited landscape of green fields or town’s dust?

“Yep,” Dave said as, as if on cue, one of the little tired villages came into view.  “It’s not too far past this town.”

Jorge slowed the car at the outskirts of the village, if you could even grace it with that name.  Just one, two, three, seven total little huts on either side of the road, a toothless woman in sarong skirt there, a bare-chested old man, squatting in the dust near the road.  Little boys in tight shorts and no shirts chasing a brown dog, the same color as the dust of the road, that toasted, reddish brown color.

The boys stopped their game, stared at the gold Mercedes.  The driver’s side window slid down, Jorge reached toward the radio, the same cutesy rock knock-offs blaring forth, Jorge rocking his head in studied coolness, elbow cocked out the open window.

“Hey!”  Penny said.  “You’re getting all that dust in here.”

“Sometimes I think Jorge thinks he owns this car,” Dave said coolly.

“I can taste it, for Christ’s sake!” Penny said.  “Roll up the window!”

“Roll up the window, Jorge,” Dave said.

The elbow came in, the window slid up, then suddenly Lisa was thrown back against the seat as Jorge slammed on the gas pedal and the car sped down the dusty street, the boys yelling, she could see their open mouths and excited eyes, the dog cantering ahead, then all the little boys after the dog, running, as fast as they could, then the dog swerving into the road, Jorge touching the brake, Lisa pitching forward, Dave saying, “Whoah,” his hand around her waist, drawing her back, his hand on her stomach now, you wouldn’t do this, you wouldn’t, not even you, not right in front of Ted, your hand is not just on my stomach, it’s lower, the dog laughing with panting breath in the center of the road, tongue dangling sideways, then Lisa rocking back against Dave’s hand again, the sound of the car’s acceleration loud over the naah-naah rock sound and then the dog ducking sideways, too late, the thump-bump and the car rocketing down the road.

“Oh, no, oh, no,” Lisa whimpered, trying to turn her head to look out the back window, yes, the dog lying in the road, writhing, its legs in the air, a high-pitched cry in the air, the boys standing around it, and Dave’s hand sliding further down her abdomen, Ted looking straight ahead, as if nothing had happened, as if nothing had happened at all.


            “Wasn’t that great?” Penny said, getting out of the Mercedes in front of the hotel and stretching.

Ted nudged Lisa in the ribs.  “Give him a tip.  I don’t have any money.”

“Give who a tip?” she asked.

“Jorge, of course!” Ted hissed.  “Jesus!  Who else?”

“I don’t want to give him a tip.”

“Lisa, goddammit!”  He put a cigarette between his lips, talked with the end of it bobbing.  “Dave’s paid for everything.  We have to take care of the tip.”

She opened her purse, dug in it for her wallet, unfolded it.  “How much?” she whispered.

“Give him the equivalent of twenty bucks. What is that in pesos?”

“One thousand.”

“Okay, give him a thousand peso bill.  Come on.”

She flipped with a fingernail through the folded bills.

“Come on,” Ted said, “hurry up.  He’s about to take off.”

“I don’t have it,” she said, feeling suddenly panicked, like she had in the car with the tornado, for no reason, for no reason at all, except that she hated giving this man money, she hated it, she hated herself.

“Well, what do you have then?” Ted whipped the unlit cigarette from between his lips, grabbed her wallet, pulled out all the bills.  “How much are these worth?” he asked, pulling out a blue and green note.

“Not that, that’s a hundred dollars.”

“Give it to him!  He’s about to leave.”

“No!” she said.  “I won’t.  He killed that dog.  He did it on purpose.  I hate the son-of-a-bitch.”

“Oh, and you’re so perfect.”  Ted leaned in close to her.  She could practically feel his small, neat moustache tickling her cheek.  “You’re perfect, right?”

She felt heat rise from her neck to her forehead, knew she was flaming red, that her still-untanned chest was splotched with rose patches.  She curled her fingers over the five thousand peso note.

Ted snatched it from her fingers.  “Give it to me!” and he folded the bill over a finger, advanced with a smile on Jorge, slumped in the driver’s seat.  “Here, man,” she heard him say.  “Thanks a lot.”

He slapped Dave on the arm on the way back.  “Great day, man.  I had a great time and I know Lisa did, too.  Didn’t you, Lisa?”

She stared at them both and at Penny beyond, with her knowing smile.  The wallet was still in her hand, the bills half pulled from it.

“Lisa had a great time,” Dave said, smiling at her.  “I know she did.”

“We’re going to like it here, man,” Ted said.  “Thanks for the opportunity.”

“Thank you,” Dave said and smiled at Lisa.

She didn’t smile back.  She was supposed to smile back.  Everything was very, very nice.  The moment stretched.

“Come on, Lisa,” Ted said.  His voice sounded irritated, but she didn’t look at him.  She looked at Dave, who was still smiling, who, behind the smile, was curling his tongue along the back of his upper teeth.  Beyond him was the gold Mercedes, with Jorge, sloe-eyed, slumped casually, insolently, behind the wheel.

The wallet dropped from her hand.  Her hand dug in her purse, closed on the scrimshaw knife.  The purse dropped, too.

“Uuuh!”  She breathed with the effort as the knife pierced the rubber of the back tire of the Mercedes.  She pulled it out with difficulty, the tire seeming to close around the silver blade, enfold it.

“What the hell –?” Ted said.

“Uuuuh!  Uuuhh!  Uuhh!”  She stabbed it again and again, Ted pulling on one arm, Dave on the other, her purse skittering across the pavement with a kick, Dave, close to her ear, his breath hot and moist, “You bitch!,” his fingers so tight on her forearm, she could feel the division of the bones, Jorge out of the car, finally, eyes wide and staring, as she stabbed and stabbed and stabbed until the Mercedes sank and settled close to the ground like a wounded animal crawling to its den. #