Photo by Pam Wells ©2010

February 25, 2010

“Her name was Shayla.”

Joe threw a rounded black rock into the surf, letting the hem of the wave rush over his feet. Audrey stayed just out of reach.

“I met her in Boulder. Boulder’s great, mom. You’d love it.”

She gave him a sideways look. His eyes were shaded under his baseball cap. They walked.

“Anyway, she worked at the bike shop. Worked on my bike, actually… she was great. I mean, I thought she was great. Then at the end of the summer—that’s when I talked to you, right? About going to Texas? It was because of her. She needed a ride, but—well, you always said I had to learn the hard way.” He threw another rock into the water, a bigger one this time. “She needed a ride, all right. Right to jail. Me along with her.”

Audrey stopped. There was his smile. She looked toward the cliffs embracing Cannon Beach to the north, then at Haystack Rock and the basalt needles over her left shoulder. The tidepools had flooded.

“What did you do?”

“Misdemeanor possession. Felony stupid. That’s why you never heard from me.”

“Oh, Joe—”

“But before that, in October, we were in Austin. You know what happens in Austin in October?”


“The film festival. It’s amazing. I mean, we had nothing else going on, and so we went to see a film. Then a bunch more, and we kind of crashed a couple of screenwriting seminars. So when I got out, that’s when I decided to go to L.A. Which turned out to be great because I hooked up with a guy I’d met in Austin, and he let me help him out for a few weeks.”

“Help him out?”

“Answer the phone mostly. But I got to read some scripts. Some really crappy scripts.”

Audrey smiled for the first time. Then it faded. “So what are you doing here?”

“Well, the guy went to Europe for a while, and I wanted to work on my script. I mean, look at this place.”

She faced him. “No, Joe, I’m looking at you. The next time your sorry butt goes to jail, and they give your sorry butt a phone call? Call your mother.”

©2010 Pam Wells


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