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Broken-Down Vows

“You better hope there’s a phone in this town, Ellen.” Frankie kicked the jack handle, and it skittered underneath the car.

Even from a hundred yards away, Ellen could see the village was abandoned. She’d be surprised if anyone had set foot in the dusty old burg in 50 years or more.

“I’m sorry, Frankie,” she said as they walked away from their broken-down vehicle.

“All I asked you to do was get the oil changed, but could you do that?” Frankie walked in front of his wife but turned every few steps to wave his hands and berate her.

“I did, Frankie.”

“Well, then, you did it wrong!” Frankie’s face was on fire with rage.

“I guess so, Frankie.” Ellen kept her eyes on the ground as the first ramshackle building passed to her right. She was no mechanic, but she was pretty sure no amount of fresh oil would have saved their front tires when Frankie drove over that huge hunk of jagged sheet metal.

“What kind of wife are you, anyway?” Frankie stood in the middle of the deserted street and glared at Ellen.

“Well, Frankie –“

Before Ellen could speak another word, a sharp crack pierced the solitude and she found herself standing on the porch of a rickety saloon.

In the street, a strapping man with a draping mustache and wide-brim hat stood two feet from Frankie, revolver trained on her husband’s head.

” Mister, we don’t speak to ladies like that ’round here. Apologize to your missus.”

Ellen could see Frankie swallow hard, and the ground between his legs darkened with moisture. She glanced toward the road where the car broke down — it was gone.

Ellen smirked a little, ready for the “sorry” she thought she’d never hear.

She wasn’t even entirely sure she’d accept it.

Published inFlash Fiction

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