Jill ground her teeth against the flashing neon lights, motel pink, spread across the wet pavement. She stood on the edge of the sidewalk as cars passed and sprayed their wheel mud across her jacket. Behind, a man jingling a tambourine laughed as someone dropped change clanging into his hat upside down on the ground. Another car passed, a line of them, never stopping, and Jill stood against the assault with mud on her face. Her toes stuck out over the edge of the curb, her jacket brushing her knees so the top half of her jeans stayed dry. A couple under an umbrella passed by, the woman close to the man and giggling as he reached his hand out for a taxi. Jill unbuttoned her coat and pulled it off her shoulders. She held it out, the bottom of it dangling on the wet ground. Another car passed close, the puddles now across Jill's silk blouse and the top of her jeans. She dipped her toes down into the water gathered at the edge of the street and running for the drain. The scent of barbeque sauce drifted past her, around her, and into her nose. Men called down the street, Hey, baby, give me some of that, and laughter, rising up amid the sound of horns and tires and squeaky brakes. Jill swung her coat back behind her, then flung it out onto the road. The cars there swerved, the drivers swearing, and mud splashed onto Jill's neck. They moved again, tires trampling the jacket, rolling it and dragging it with them. Jill stepped away from the curb, a small step, and the tambourine jingled behind her, thank you sirs and ma'ams and laughing, jingling some more. Jill took another step back and, Whoa, missy, watch where you're going, she bumped into the man, spilling his hat, change rolling, and as she leaped forward into the street, into the cars, the man's fingers grasped the air, barely missing the blue silk clinging to her back.

fiction non-fiction poetry art sounds