Up in Smoke by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

The car had always been the one place he could smoke, at least as far as Jenna knew. She knew when he got up in the middle of the night that he was going to sit in their little yellow Subaru with a pack of American Spirits, even if he did come back with fake blood trickling down his cheek. At least, she hoped it was fake.

She had never told him she knew. His elaborate plot to make her think he’d become a vampire was too amusing: the ever-darker glasses, the refusal to eat at Italian restaurants because garlic upset him—eventually he even stopped going outside during the day and had thick drapes installed in his home office.

And she was grateful now that she had allowed him that one haven in which to smoke. It meant she could slip outside when the insomnia got to her, curl up in the driver’s seat, and smell his last remaining trace.

She was grateful, too, that in the note he left before hanging himself in that darkened office, he had asked to be cremated. It gave her something to argue about with his very old-school Catholic mother. A welcome distraction from grief.

Besides, there was something nice about having him in a box in the glove compartment. Smoke and ashes in the little car they had driven from California to Juneau. That would have to be enough from now on.

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Filed under Elizabeth Kate Switaj

5 responses to “Up in Smoke by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

  1. Fascinating take on the theme. That last bit… shivers. Well-played. Peace…

  2. Funny and tragic and bittersweet. Loved the way you revealed everything slowly and the final sentence. Lovely.

  3. Al McDermid

    I quite enjoyed the curious twist on the vampire theme, which you painted with a few simple details. And then, “. . . and smell his last remaining trace.” Oh! So unexpected. The arguing with his mother was a nice touch as well. And the finish . . . well, kudos. What else can I say.

  4. Pingback: Week #9 – archive | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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