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Lissa Inkslinger
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The greasy asshole winked from behind the cash register. His foul breath made Zazzy recoil a little, which is no easy feat.
 
“These here tires are just as good as any you might find in one them faint-cy downtown she-ow roooms.”
 
Her contemptuous smile fading, Zazzy pursed her red lips.
“It’s like you’re reading my mind, honey.”
Zazzy rolled her eyes. “I can read. let’s keep it at that.”
He stepped out from behind the plywood counter. Her eyes grew wild and furious as the man slid his hand over her long red hair then down her ass cheek. She pulled back, smiled, and snatched the wallet from his pocket as he tried to kiss her.
 
After slipping his wallet into her purse, she grabbed his wrist firmly.  She stared into the man’s shiny blue eyes. She pointed toward a stack of black Dunderflop Radials in the corner. “Are those the best tires you have?” After a short silence, She clenched her hand tighter onto the man’s wrist.
 
The man turned his face toward the stack of tires and grimaced.
 
“Ma’am, I can assure you, those tires come standard on every sport car that comes out of…”
 
With his long stringy blond hair balled in one hand and the ass of his denim pants in the other, she carried him to the old wire-reinforced glass door of the “Turn ‘N’ Burn Tire Center”.
 
“Those shit-spinning rubbers might cut it on your farm truck, but they aren’t going near my car. That is my red Exotisport Gorgon 9900N. It came standard with 2000 horsepower and it now has more. It has MORE cubic liters than a crate of your granddaddy’s corn licky’ and MORE cubic-inches than your momma’s fat ass. The only thing standard about that machine is the custom built X-90 transmission.”
 
The short wiry tire man quivered, his face mashed against the glass. “Yes, ma’am. Can you please…”
 
Zazzy closed her eyes and shook her head. “Not until you answer one question.” She hissed and punctuated each syllable with a firm shake of her man-filled hands, “What, the, fuck, a-bout, that, ma-chine, is, stand-ard?”
 
“Nawt’n. Ma’am.” The words seemed to come straight from his male-camel toe that Zazzy had a firm hold on. The subsequent noise he made sounded like the stretched out nipple of a balloon squeaking out it’s breath. Not the voice of the man dubbed Skeet county’s ‘Hog Wrestling Champion”.
 
The side door to the shop opened as the asshole thudded onto the dingy concrete floor. “Michelle Stephan Eakers, what in the devil are you doing on the floor?”
 
Zazzy glared at the tall man who interrupted her. “My name is Zazzy, not Michelle. Completely wrong.”
 
The man lying on the floor wheezed and raised his shaking hand.
 
The tall man stepped back behind the shabby plywood counter where the asshole had stood. His eyes met her dead-lit gaze. With a shaking bony finger pointed down, the tall man’s gaunt face twisted out the words. “That’s his na-na-name”.
 
“That’s his nay-nan-nay-nay-name.” The subtly of her mocking was not lost on the tall man. Her sarcastic words were accentuated by the raising of a recently waxed eyebrow. “His name is Michelle?” Poking her finger toward her feet.
 
“It’s French ma’am an’ momma don’t much spell good.” The man behind the counter swallowed as he snaked his shaky hand below the cash register feeling for the .357 revolver that was usually there.
 
She smiled. “And Stephanie, is French also? She laughed.
 
“Michelle…Steff-fawn…Eakers.” He enunciated.
 
"Whatever." Zazzy tugged her purse strap as she spun her feet. Her Italian stilettos groaned. She swung the door open. The gray aluminum frame thumped on Michelle’s head as it swung shut.
 
She grabbed the door handle of the Gorgon as her heel sunk into the gravel. “They can make a street-legal car that goes half the speed of sound but not heels that can withstand a gravel lot. Geniuses.”. She jumped in and pushed the starter button. The mufflers roared.
 
Michelle accepted a greasy, yet helpful, hand from the tall man. “Why’d you let her treat you like that?” Michelle shaking, brushed the residual humiliation off his jeans. His hand grazed his back pocket. No wallet.
 
“Burt you prick, I didn’t let her! That woman is bad-wrong. Just ain’t right. She didn’t just take my pride, she took my damned wallet. Fifty bucks says she’s heading for the city.”
 
“Well what’re you gonna do Michelle? What makes a woman go wrong like that?” Burt looked out the window as a hailstorm of gravel flew out from the back end of the Gorgon. The crushed stones pelted the plywood siding of the only “tire center” in three counties.
 
The bell inside the old black desk-phone jangled when Michelle slammed it down on the counter. Burt jumped. “Imma tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go after that bitch while you call Johny Stump and have him stop her. I ain’t lettin’ her take my drinking money! 1500 bucks she don’t deserve!” The door slammed. Plywood shuttered.
 
The gray cloud of burnt rubber was swirling around the edge of the road when Michelle’s Trans Prix rolled through it at 50 miles per hour.
 
The 30 year old muscle car was not only the fastest car in Skeet county, it was the only car with a plastic Pirouette Racing slick mounted on the roof.
 
The thought struck him, if Johnny Stump couldn’t stop her, there would be no way the Trans Prix could catch up with her Gorgon. After finding  5th gear Michelle took his hand off the shift knob. He reached between the bucket-seats and flopped out the revolver. The same one his brother, “Burt Josephine Eakers”, had been looking for under the counter at the Tire Center. Michelle caressed the steel .357 as the Trans Prix hit 90 Miles per hour.
 
Zazzy cranked-up the car stereo after finding a station that played something other than that “Country and Bumpkin” music.
 
An ear-piercing riff of heavy metal guitar blasted through the speakers. She smiled and jabbed the accelerator with her toe.
 
The monstrous oak trees lining the sides of the old paved country road blocked out most of the light. A little sunshine was coming through the snarled leafy branches and dripping tendrils of Spanish Moss . It was casting millions of little sun rays over the road. At 110 miles an hour the vertiginous tree filtered strobes of sunbeams irritated her. She grabbed the sun visor and flipped it down before glancing up to check her face. Her eyes smiled at the sight of Michelle’s Trans Prix. It grew larger in her rear view mirror. She pushed her toe harder. The speedometer read 140.
Michelle saw two small puffs of smoke roll off each of her tires. His heart was thumping to the rhythm of Blondie’s “ One Way or Another”. He kicked the gas pedal to the floor.
Zazzy sighed. A Tractor trailer. “Fucking Bumpkins!” She felt the ass end of the Gorgon swaying. She struggled. Counter-steering and jabbing quickly at the brakes. The nearly bald tires left long skid marks and a dense cloud of black smoke. The massive truck parked across the road blocked both lanes from one rocky ditch to the other. She had three seconds to decide. Take the dirt road on the right that trailed through the woods or turn around. “I should just stop. Asshole!” She giggled. “Nope. This is too much fun."
He saw the black rubber cloud  before he saw where the Gorgon had left the pavement. He braked. He wasn’t sure how much time he had to react after he punched through the dense smoke.
Zazzy’s Gorgon skidded a hundred meters or more to a near halt. Her suspension rocked slightly from side to side. She was facing the dirt road. The smell of hot rubber and asphalt filled her nostrils. She mashed the accelerator. The hot black tires slithered wildly as they flailed for traction before throwing Zazzy back in her seat. She winced as the gravel started blasting down the length of the Gorgon's undercarriage. “Fucking Bumpkins!” She tipped her head as the loud metallic thundering of the quarter-sized stones rumbled her nerves.
The tires of the Trans Prix shrieked as Michelle followed the skid marks pointing the way toward his prey. “Dead end BITCH!” The clouds of dry dust billowing from the tires of the Gorgon kept his speed and his visibility low.
The Gorgon drifted chaotically through a wide corner. She stomped the gas pedal. Zazzy’s eyes grew wide as her car seemed to defy gravity. She wrinkled her face as felt her ass sink back into the seat. She hadn’t seen the small rise in the road.
The dust was getting thicker and he knew that the trip to the Laxahatchie River was about to end. He also knew that there was a fuck of a bump ahead. Like a dog chasing the mail-truck, he wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do when he caught up with her. He glanced at the .357 and shifted.
Vroom! Boom! Zazzy blinked hard as the shock of the impact traveled up her spine. The seat-belt punched into her sternum. “Ooof!” Her pulse quickened. Her heart squeezing faster and harder than it had in years. The fiberglass chunks from her front end crunched under the chassis of the Gorgon. “Hope I didn’t need that! Bwaahahaha!” She gunned the engine.
Michelle heard the fiberglass smash under his tires. He slowed down to 25 miles per hour and looked in the rear-view. Nothing could be seen in the dust cloud. He shrugged and sped up.
Zazzy saw the sign. The orange one. “Bridge Out Ahead.” Her tires ground to a dead stop near the edge of the old bridge ruins. The hood of the Gorgon was hot when she slid on it to wait for him. She could hear the pings and pangs of Michelle’s car racing on gravel.
Michelle’s shaking hand reached down and grabbed the .357. As he jammed on the brakes he heard a loud popping noise coming from above, then a thump next to the car. The door opened. A chime sounded. Bing, bing, bing.
Zazzy was laughing so hard she pissed herself a little as the black plastic Pirouette Racing slick rolled off the roof of the Trans Prix, circled three times, and keeled over on its side. She was still pointing and laughing when Michelle leveled his handgun at her.
“Give me my fucking wallet! Think this is funny bitch?”
Zazzy was holding her stomach and lying on the sloping hood of the Gorgon. “Yeah!” She tried to get the words out.
 
“You, oh my fuck, you are like a character from that show about the Bumpkins with talking pigs. Put down your little toy, before you get yourself hurt.”
From ten feet away, Michelle squeezed the trigger. Click. His face flashed to white as he stared into her eyes, inhuman swirling pools of black and gray. He was frozen in place from the neck down.
“Now that we have established that your tires are shit, your car sucks, and your little pea-shooter isn’t going to save your soul, let’s talk about you.”
Michelle was standing, unmoving. He reflected on his earlier words, ‘That woman is bad-wrong, bad-wrong, bad wrong’. Again he tried to step toward her. His limbs refused to obey his mind.
 
“Nope. I ain’t talkin’.”
Zazzy’s face wrinkled. The corners of her mouth turned up. “You see this wallet? Michelle Stephanie? Let’s call it… your soul. If you want it back you will have to do two things. One requirement is you asking nicely after you fulfill the first requirement.”
“I ain’t playin’.” Michelle’s eyes shut.
“Oh? I could leave you here and when you die of starvation, well, let’s just say we’ll be good buds, drinking buds... Forever…”
"WHAT DO YOU WANT!”
“It’s simple Michelle Stephanie.” She gazed into his eyes. He unfroze.
“Catch me.”
Zazzy slid her ass into her Gorgon and drove away.
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