Iowa Writes

TOM SNEE
Venus Banging on the Windshield


Hey, you OK in there? I fought the day-old whiskey and scotch and cheap tequila to pry open my eyelids, gasped at the rancid sour smell of myself, squinted through the summer sun high in the sky to Venus banging on the windshield. Stunned, I mustered only a thick and bubbly-throated ungh and gawked at her startling beauty, hair that flowed like a golden river, eyes blue as icebergs that chilled my skin, a body I would have paid to see naked, right then and there. She needed only to stand in a giant open clam shell to complete the picture.

Hey, you OK in there? I fought the day-old whiskey and scotch and cheap tequila to pry open my eyelids, gasped at the rancid sour smell of myself, squinted through the summer sun high in the sky to Venus banging on the windshield. Stunned, I mustered only a thick and bubbly-throated ungh and gawked at her startling beauty, hair that flowed like a golden river, eyes blue as icebergs that chilled my skin, a body I would have paid to see naked, right then and there. She needed only to stand in a giant open clam shell to complete the picture.

You've been in there all day, we're starting to get worried, she bent over so her shirt fell open to me and only me and when I peered down, making no attempt to hide where I was looking, I knew I would marry her, I knew I would never leave this town of Wherever I Am and marry her and she would become Mrs. Venus Robinson, and I would get a job at a hardware store, the one right across the street with the hand-lettered help wanted sign in the window, and work my way up to manager, maybe some day buy the place when the owner retires to Tucson, and we would have two children, Romulus and Roy, and become scions of this town of Wherever I Am, known by everyone, friends to all, benefactors, civic do-gooders. We will sing songs at Rotary, slice frozen cod at the Lion's fish fry, lead the Pledge at PTA meetings and hack away at the Chamber of Commerce golf tournament, and at night we will retire to our three-bedroom ranch in the nice subdivision on the edge of town and put our kids to bed after a story and count our blessings and then make love, wild animal love, sweaty and intense, loud and passionate, the kind that brings you closer to God, the kind that solves all the riddles of the universe and makes sense of the pain of it all so broken hearts can be endured and dashed lives put back together.

So where you from, anyways, she pushed her collar up to close the gap and I looked up to her face, soft as a pillow, warm as the midday sun, eyes bright as jade and teeth white as stars, and I said would you marry me. She laughed like it was the silliest thing she'd ever heard, a sharp you-can't-be-serious laugh, just like I'd heard the day before, on bent knee, a diamond that cost me two month's salary (just like the ads said it should), a laugh that revealed to me the profound understanding that my destiny was to spend the rest of the day in a bar and drive all night to Wherever I Am to marry Venus banging on my windshield.

Take it easy and I hope you get home all right, she laughed and walked away, her jeans a half-size too small for her sparrow body, but I knew we would be married, I knew it was only a matter of time.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


TOM SNEE

A Duluth, Minnesota native, Tom Snee now lives in Iowa City with his wife and son. His work has appeared in the Wapsipinicon Almanac, The Long Story, Elysian Fields Quarterly, and Exquisite Corpse. His story, "First Start," was recently included in Fenway Fiction, an anthology of stories about the Boston Red Sox. He works in the University News Service of the University of Iowa.

This page was first displayed
on April 20, 2006

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