“I asked you to stop at that rest stop!”
He had been in a trance the last 50 miles or so, listening to “Asleep at the Wheel” on the CD player in the Ford. Deep into “Take me back to Tulsa,” M. missed the turnoff to the Big Boy. “Oh,” he said, snapping out of it, but that wouldn’t be an answer good enough for her on this particular trip. Enough was enough, she thought.
“M,” she said, tersely pausing at each syllable of his name between clenched teeth, “I really needed that stop. What’s the matter with you?”
“Ok, ok, next one.” And he turned the volume back up. Very big mistake.
Onions were ready, fry pan sizzling, Merlot (Sutter Home) at the ready, his back was turned to her as he bent over the stove in the Burro
preparing his specialty, steak el Diablo de crucifixion. How appropriate. They had been on the road in Maine for only three days but it had not been a perfect trip. The Burro
was pulling well and though at 16 mpg the ’92 Explorer’s mileage sucked he found it fun to drive, roomy, comfy, paid for. That’s all he cared about. Well, M. was happy enough, for he enjoyed any outing, proud of his trailer restoration, but she had reached her limits, a tipping point, the edge, Def-con 6, code Red. He didn’t know it but she was in pain. She wanted out.
But he had driven past that last rest stop without stopping. In hindsight, woe be to them who ignore the signs.
Now was her time for revenge. We know of the three dimensions of wedded space; length (how long can you stand to sacrifice your personal space), width (how much of the big picture can you see), and height (how do you avoid shrinkage), but what took place here that night entered a fourth dimension, maybe even a fifth. A trip into surreality, where time melts and bends and your brain feels like exploding, then re-assembles, and explodes again. Yes it hurts. As mentioned earlier, it was a dark and stormy night. It all happened so quickly piecing together the events will be difficult, nee impossible, but we can speculate. Clearly, marital wrath is inscrutable, if not nuclear. Has not every man felt this? A lucky few may avoid it. But just you wait.
First, there were the black, elongated scorch marks where the Burro
had been, and the broken tree branches above, all strangely turned upward to the sky. Lightning could have struck, but would that explain the branches? Then there was the residue of sulfur and saltpeter, and an odd yellow-green slime. Bark on nearby maple trees seemed flattened, withered by sound. Whatever explosion had taken place there was clearly feminine, curdled, but bloodless, no doubt far too loud to record, impossible to explain, and besides, where was the Burro? They never found it. Everything gone? Everything.
Later a local reported hearing a big splash in the lake, about 8 or 9 Pm on the last day anyone had seen Burro or its owner. They began the dredging, but so far, nothing.