She slid that ’76 gray mustang into the dirt hard enough I got splashed with mud. Mashing the stick into park, bracelet and necklace jangling, I nearly smashed my head on the glove box.
“Get out.” She says.
“What?” I say.
“Get your ass out of the car.”
“What? Rebecca?”
Staring forward, she bites her bottom lip, and unbuckles her seatbelt. She flings open the mustang door, and runs around to my side.
“Get out.” My door comes open with wind, my seat belt off, and my face in the mud.
I look up at her in her acid-washed cut offs and black snakeskin cowboy boots. Gold floral tank top, and bracelets and necklaces. Jangling. Always jangling.
“Mhhmm?” She waves her blond streaks back into submission with her bony fingers.
“Help me up, would ya?”
Hands on hips. Exhaling mountain breaths. Cool, crisp Colorado mountain air.
Flips me over, grabs me by the tie.
“I’ll help ya,” nitty gritty in my dirt face. Don’t think she wants to help. “I’ll help ya,” she repeats. Don’t think she wants to help. I crawl on my bows and toes in the mud and inch away from her.
“Ned?” she says so sweet, but I ain’t answering.
“Ned, honey?” No, I ain’t answering. Face in the mud.
“Ned, c’mon. I’m sorry. Maybe I’m overreacting.”
“Damn Rebecca.” I say.
“Oh thank god Ned. You do want to talk to me.”
“Well –“ and she kicks me in the chest.
“Hot damn Rebecca! What the hell you trying to pull with me?”
“Ned. You ain’t in the right here. You’re more than one hundred percent wrong. More than that.”
“That don’t mean you need to kick me in the mud. I already got this shirt here, this one, the one my grandma gave me, dirty.”
“Ned, I am sorry. Really. But that don’t matter too much, no, not your shirt, no. I’ve just got to make sure you’re sorry.”
“Damn Rebecca. I won’t do nothing like it again. I swear.”
“Ned, I know you say that now, face down in the mud, but let’s say next week, what’s gon’ happen then, huh? You gon’ try the same trick, Ned? No, no. Ned, you wouldn’t do that to me would you? After I’ve been so sweet to ya?” She gets real close in my face and puts on one of them fake like smiles, sterling. Rebecca and those tassels on her shirt. She’s sterling.
“No Rebecca. I won’t, I won’t, I swear.”
“Ned, mmmm, ned?” She grabs my hair, and pulls my head up real hard, then straight back down, in the mud.
“Ahhhhh!!! Dammitt! Rebecca! I said I won’t! Okay. I said I won’t!”
“Ned, I wish I could believe you, but I just can’t, I just can’t!”
“Rebecca! I won’t take yer goddam car out, ever again! Okay! Dammitt! Okay?”
“Not even if your friends ask you to?” She says pouty lips on her pouty face.
“No, no-uh, not my friends. I hate all my friends!”
“All of ‘em?” She kicks me in the ribs with her boot. Snakeskin steel-toed, goodness.
“All right Ned, all right. I believe you.”
“You do?”
“Yeah, sure do sugar.” I sit up in the mud and try and dust myself off a bit. She walks towards the car, and opens her door. “You know I love you Ned, right?”
“Yeah, Rebecca, yeah.”
“Good. Now I’ll see ya back at the house.”
“What!? What do you mean?”
“Well, Ned, honey, you didn’t think I was gon’ let you get in my car looking like that did ya? You’re a silly boy, Ned. A silly boy.”