Flash fiction – ‘Super Snipe’
Note: this story was written in collaboration with my partner, Naomi (pictured above!) and Walter, her Humber Super Snipe.
Lara made her escape from the suffocating house and went out onto the front verandah. The sun was still high. Her singlet was soaked through with sweat from helping Chris hump that monstrosity of a four piece-suite up onto the trailer. But now it was done and they could get the fuck out, just as soon as he had finished signing the settlement papers with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Anna.
“Just for a quick spin,” Chris said, opening the front door but looking back over his shoulder. Anna followed him out, her fat fingers vainly trying to smooth out the many folds in her bunched-up tee-shirt.
“Quick spin in what, Chris?” Lara asked, wiping her brow.
“Anna has her Humber going at last,” Chris explained.
“It isn’t quite roadworthy yet, but it’s drivable,” Anna said.
Lara followed them across the dusty paddock to the shed, thinking hateful thoughts. Anna slid back the shed door with a pig-like grunt.
“It’s a ’61 Super Snipe,” Chris said, putting his arm around Lara.
Lara pushed away. “I’ll wait in our car,” she said. “I’ll have the air-con running.”
“But you’re the happy couple now. I insist,” Anna said.
Lara got in the passenger side and Anna closed the door behind her. Chris turned the ignition and the Humber boomed to life. He reversed out and drove the car past the house and onto the gravel driveway.
“We’ve got a two hour drive ahead of us, Chris.”
“I’ll just go to the end of the driveway and back,” he said. “I’m humouring her.”
Sheep watched them as they bumped along and Lara’s stomach lurched. She went to crank down the window but there was no handle. “Any aircon in this bucket?”
Lara eased back into the seat, exposed flesh sticking to the bright red vinyl.
The gate at the top of the driveway was shut.
“Can you open it, babe?” Chris asked.
Lara reached for the door handle, but there wasn’t one. “How do I get out?”
“Shit, she hasn’t put the inner door in yet.” Their eyes turned to the driver’s door. The grey, webbed panel was missing its door handle and window winder. “I’ll have to reverse back out.” He craned his neck around. Lara could barely see a thing in the swirl of red dust. And the heat.
Chris found a wider place and managed to manhandle the aged hulk around. They drove back to the house, but Anna was nowhere to be seen. Chris pressed the horn but there was no sound.
“Let me guess, she hasn’t hooked that up yet either,” Lara said.
Chris circumnavigated the house. No Anna. “She can’t have gone far.”
The heat pressed in. “I’m going to kick this fucking window out in a minute!”
“You won’t be able to; it’s shatterproof glass. Just settle down.”
Lara clambered into the back seat but found no way out there either. They were trapped and her guts were churning. “The bitch did this deliberately, Chris. Get us out!”
Lara climbed back into the front and tried to think straight. The sun burned white and the car was a furnace.
“Fucking thing corners like a tank,” Chris said, steering around to the front of the house again. His arms were trembling. “She’s on the verandah.” He waved with one hand, but Anna seemed not to see them.
Lara thumped the burning glass with the heel of her hand. “Let me out of here, you fat cow!”
Anna looked up from whatever she was doing. It wasn’t clear whether she could hear them. She raised the thing in her lap so that it came into view. It was the long barrel of a rifle and now she rested it on the frame of the verandah. She had something else, the settlement papers. She proceeded to tear the papers into strips, letting the strips flutter down over the side of the verandah. Then she raised the rifle.
As she waited for the shot to come, Lara hadn’t yet decided at which of them Anna was aiming.