Story Time at The Rip Tide Inn by Ron Gibson, Jr.
Outside the little motel beach house, winter storms bomb the shoreline, gulls pivot and churn, waves drive into the sand like slow fists, while inside molten bodies crash and cool, twined under twisted covers, forming new land.
Spellman’s arm is a peninsula; his hand, an isthmus; his fingers, explorers. Linnea fills his touch with soft terrain, her curves rising and falling against his skin, easy, at home, even as a strangeness lives between them, a newness.
Three days earlier neither knew the other. A hard rain had grinded its teeth on Seattle streets, charging downhill, under the brake-lit sprawl and hurried footsteps, washing shadows of buildings out to sea. Most weathered the storm, moving like underexposed ghosts on the darkside of the moon. But some stood under awnings or stepped into shops and cafes, waiting for the storm’s ridiculous strength to flag.
“It acts like it’s never rained before,” said Spellman to himself, watching snaking rivers run down the window.
“It hasn’t. This is the first time ‘this’ rain has fallen,” said Linnea.
She had an accent. One Spellman couldn’t place.
“What about evaporation? This might be its billionth time it has fallen.”
They both listened: Linnea holding a book open, one-handed; Spellman, a cup of coffee. It sounded like muffled laughter, like stampeding pilgrims, like painkillers dying, like the B-side of a child’s dream.
Linnea and Spellman smiled at each other, still listening: it sounded like fevered lovers fucking for the first time — all elbows, kneecaps, jawbones and gasps.
In Spellman’s arms, Linnea hears the soft shuffling of rain on motel roof, and asks, “What did you hear that day in the rain?”
Spellman’s lips brush against Linnea’s neck.
Outside, winter winds gust, evergreens sway, the other motel beach houses howl, lonely, empty, before Spellman and Linnea muffle their laughter in each other’s bodies.
“We’re so full of shit.”
Spellman caresses Linnea’s belly.
“Sure sounds pretty, though.”
Linnea caresses Spellman’s arm.
Ron Gibson, Jr. has previously appeared in Stockholm Review of Literature, Cheap Pop, New South Journal, Jellyfish Review, Whiskeypaper, The Bohemyth, Easy Street, Noble / Gas Quarterly, Harpoon Review, Spelk Fiction, Entropy Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, etc… forthcoming at (b)oink, apt, & Glove Lit Zine @sirabsurd