October 31, 2009 by markstani
(this story first published in Southpaw
Dylan comes round first, blinks at the white stripe stretched beside him.
‘Tine? I been flying in mine.’
Tina rolls onto her side to face him. Eyes stay closed. Skin wrung in morning dew. Whispers, ‘I been flying too.’
Dylan feels for his clothes. ‘Shit,’ he says, sets himself up on one elbow, reaches for a couple of gas cans. Shakes them: ‘Shit.’ Leans over, retches see-through. ‘You know where’s our clothes, Tine?’
Tina sleeps. Orange streaks the sky. The day yet to heat.
Second time Dylan comes round, Tina’s tracing a shape in his back.
‘It’s beautiful, Dyl,’ she says, seeing him stir. ‘Like a moon.’
Dylan reaches round, follows her cold fingers, feels nothing.
‘You still in one?’ Head bangs, throat burns.
Tina’s on all fours, blinking in the light. ‘Where’s our clothes?’ she almost giggles. Dylan sits up, eyes Tina’s skin.
‘Shit, Tine. You got one too.’
They’re picked up by a cop in the dunes. Tina draws her elbows tight to her chest. Cups her chin on her fists. ‘Where’s your clothes?’ says the cop. Throws them each a blanket. ‘We’ve had complaints.’
Huddled in the back of the cop car. Cop winds his window half down, flicks his eyes in the rear-view mirror. ‘You been sniffing again?’
Tina digs her head in Dylan’s shoulder. ‘Tell him, Dyl.’
‘Tell him what?’ says the cop.
Tina’s jerking – happy, sad, cold or all.
‘We been flying,’ says Dylan, meeting the mirror’s gaze.
The cop shakes his head again. ‘Sure you have, son,’ he says. ‘Sure you have.’
At the station, Dylan drops his blanket and turns his back. ‘We got these,’ he says. Tina smirks. Hesitates, drops hers too. Two cops take a look. One says, ‘well, what do you know.’ Quieter: ‘matching fuck-ups.’ Pushes paper for them both to sign. Says, ‘best get these creatures some clothes. Get them out of here.’
Dylan and Tina stays in bed for three days. Eat dry Sugar Puffs. Till white splices the curtains. Tina runs her finger over Dylan’s crescent-shape. ‘You feel anything?’
Dylan says, ‘no.’
Tina says, ‘Dyl, do you really think we might’ve got beamed up?’
Dylan says, ‘I seen plenty of shit before. Some true, some not. But I never been on a trip, like, together.’
Tina jolts up and hangs over Dylan, starts shaking him up. ‘We gotta go tell someone, Dyl,’ she says. ‘We gotta go and find out for real.’ Then: ‘besides, I’m starving.’
Swings out of bed. Starts tugging an old tee-shirt over her head. Dylan stays still.
The doc takes one look and says, ‘you tried scrubbing?’
Tina says, ‘scrubbing?’
Dylan says, ‘it means he don’t believe us.’
Outside, Dylan reaches in his jacket pocket. ‘Fuck him don’t believing.’ Flaps a couple of pages off a prescription pad. Tina smiles, presses her lips against his. ‘I love you, Dyl,’ says Tina.
‘I love you too, Tine,’ says Dylan right back.
In bed, Tina says, ‘Dyl? I been thinking.’
Dylan rolls over and touches her lips with his. ‘You been thinking what?’
‘I been thinking we should get married, Dyl. Let’s do it. Let’s do it now.’
Some time later: two white stripes on the hill. Close by: a child’s ballerina costume, customized with safety-pin scrimps. A white dress-shirt, hooked on brambles. Tina’s hair dragged back into a bun, lips puffed red. Dylan’s dark hair, flopped wet. They face each other, clamped tight. Gas cans and pill tubs strewn near. Paramedics prize them apart.