Magnolia and Maxine Heading South
Tom Sheehan
Every time the red Corvette passed a construction site, Magnolia tooted the horn and waved wildly, tossing and flipping her hair in the breeze or the draft, bouncing herself around in the Corvette seat.
  “They’ll think about it all day and all night, honey,” she said to Maxine, “and they’ll tell their buddies about it over drinks tonight, sitting up there at the bar shooting their own brand of dreams and hopes and good wishes and shit and shinola all rolled into one. Way they do things. They’ll have a nice night thinking ‘bout what it coulda been today we out there thumbing when that little Firebird flew on by us like some heav’nly star chariot, them two goddamn angels sittin’ proud up in it like they wuz riper’n shit under a three holer. Most of them deserve it, hunks a men all at sweating up this world of ours, making it nicer right from the ground up.”
 
When Magnolia one time caught Max looking sideways at her, she simply said, in a straightforward voice, “I’m real, girl. Real as they come,” and she laughed again at another inside joke, as if life was one great big show.
 
Once, about to pass a huge chrome-laden Kenworth rig, baby-blue with white trim, wide as a mortgage and hauling a long-body trailer, her red hair flying like a special Triple A road standard, but one without any admonitions, she whipped her dress top down so her gorgeous breasts beamed proudly in the sunlight. She tooted the horn as she went slowly past the rig, smiling at the driver almost falling out of his side window, his face round, his arm huge.
 
“That’ll take him from here to California and back, hon, even if he’s hauling shrimp out and lettuce back. That’ll take him in and out of a hundred truck stops between here and next year, hon. Guarantee, if you ever bump into him, he’ll be talking about us, how we passed him on the highway, the top down and the jugs high and proper for fitting. I guaroantee it,” she added, saying it like the guy in the Cajun cooking commercials a few years back.
 
A mile down the highway they could still hear the repeating and long moaning diesel sound of the trucker’s horn, like the whistle on an old nightline freight train hauling down through the southern plantations a load of longing and missed chances around a long curve in the roadbed and out of sight forever.


First published: February, 2015
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