by JP Gritton
I guess you’re wondering how I ended up with a woman like Syrena, in the first place. Truth is, it’s Mike’s fault. He’s the one to blame. Or to thank, I don’t know which. It was Mike Corliss who turned to me on this too-hot afternoon beginning of September. The four of us ought to go out sometime. Double Dutch, I mean. And I remember him smiling at me while my guts turned somersaults. He was a different man those days, full of piss and vinegar. He had a smart mouth on him, and he wasn’t afraid to use it either, which is why Laughton Starbuck kind of had it out for Mike.
“Where’s your protective eyewear, Corliss?”
“My protective eyewear?”
“That’s what I asked you.”
“My protective eyewear’s protecting the dashboard of Sheldon Cooper’s truck. That’s where I left it this morning.”
Sheldon, he used to call me, ’cause he knew it got on my nerves. To everybody else I was Shelley.
I was just a journeyman carpenter back then. I drove Lij’s truck to work and home every day, give my best friend Mike Corliss a ride. Half the time, he’d forget something on the dash: that blue bandana, that pack of smokes, that pair of goggles.