A Joke Gone Wrong
jd daniels

Slow down.  Drive past that tree.  They’re in there.  I know it. We’ve got to be quiet.

But you can’t just walk up to the door without them hearing us.  You’re a damn nutcase.

We’re just switching plants.  Tomorrow we’ll all laugh over the joke. They'll’ll think a damn rabbit ate the buds right off.  Some competition.  His has forty buds.  Ours ain’t got none.

Maybe you should of fertilized it.

Yeah, right. Maybe you should of.

Varigated ginger and Bismarck Palm fronds sway.

Dev gives Rima a wink, steps out of the car and dashes toward the house, carrying their potted gardenia. The color of his skin and his dark clothes blend in with the night.

Rima’s fingers tap the steering wheel. She gnaws on her lower lip as she glances at the rearview mirror. You be good, baby.  Don’t cry.  Just be good. It’s just an April Fool’s joke.  It ain’t nothin` bad.

The passenger door swings open. Dev piles in as bullets pepper the car.  Get the hell out of here! It’s the damn cops!

Rima slams her foot down on the gas pedal.  The car lurches forward. Stalls then dies.

Jesus Christ! Okay, stay calm.  We haven’t done nothin` wrong. I’ll explain everything. He pushes open his door, slips out and raises his hands.

Rima turns and reaches for her baby.  Holding her in her arms she opens her door, steps out and stands up straight. Tears stream down her face.

Seconds later, the pavement begins to bleed.

First published: May 2019
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