home, short storyJill Talbot

The Road Travelled Often

home, short storyJill Talbot
The Road Travelled Often

A knock comes at the car window. I roll it down. I need help, the woman says. Help with what, I’m sleeping, I say. There’s a man out to kill me, she says. I could be a man out to kill you. Right but you could be and he definitely is. I don’t have a phone. I didn’t ask you for a phone. I’m drunk. You aren’t too drunk. Fine, I say, get in.

It smells like dog. There’s no dog. It smells like dog. Where am I driving you? Starbucks. You just want a coffee? You can drive me home but that would take longer, she says. I’m not doing all this so you can have a latte. I don’t drink lattes. Missing the point. You aren’t drunk but you’re not sober.

Ever wonder why it’s called a glove compartment? she asks. Probably because people put gloves in it. Not usually, I bet you don’t have a glove in there. She opens it. See, no gloves. She rustles through the papers. Wait, you’re popo? Retired RCMP. And you hesitated on helping me? I was sleeping in my car, does that seem like a hero to you?  Just sayin’— the glove compartment is still the glove compartment no matter what shit you put in it. That’s very philosophical. Maybe I’m actually saving you.

So doc, what does that mean?
           This woman, what did she look like?
           I don’t know, kind of like Angelina Jolie after spending a year in a zoo.
           And this is a memory or a dream?
           Aren’t you supposed to tell me that?

I see a man hitchhiking. He doesn’t look safe but I stop anyway. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all. He says it smells like dog. I say there’s no dog. He says he has a dog. I ask him where his dog is. He says he doesn’t know. I say that’s not very nice to not know where your dog is. He says he’s looking for a woman. I say that I cannot help him kill her. He nods. He says he’ll go to Starbucks instead.

What did this man look like?
          Like someone who hunts baby seals.
          And what do your parents look like?
          I see where you’re going with this, doc.

I pick up a welder. The welder says he’s going home. I say I don’t know where his home is. He says that if you drive for long enough, you’ll surely get there. He says he’s been a welder his whole life—whole cocksucking life. I say that it can’t be that bad. He asks if I’ll arrest him. He begs me to arrest him, if not for murder then at least for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. I ask if this is a play on words. He laughs. Then they all show up, chanting, are we home yet, are we home yet, are we home yet?


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Art by Manon Le Gall

Manon Le Gall is a young self-taught illustrator based in Paris. She uses drawing as a loophole and plunges us into her often melancholic universe. She illustrates women in scenes of daily life mixing poetry and girl power. Instagram: @mlgillustrations

Jill Talbot attended Simon Fraser University for psychology before pursing her passion for writing. Jill has appeared in Geist, Rattle, Poetry Is Dead, The Puritan, Matrix, subTerrain, The Tishman Review and is forthcoming in PRISM and The Cardiff Review. Jill won the PRISM Grouse Grind Lit Prize and 3rd place for the Geist Short Long-Distance Contest. She was shortlisted for the Matrix Lit POP Award for fiction and the Malahat Far Horizons Award for poetry. Jill lives on Gabriola Island, BC.