Fiction 500 | Short Stories


The lawyer flipped through the thick stack of papers to each little yellow bookmark sticker, one after another, showing her where to sign or initial. She didn't read a single word, only signed, and after eleven signatures she stopped counting. She thought she might cry, sitting there in a blandly decorated law office next to a supermarket, (her friend had called it "a divorce mill"), signing away fourteen years of her life. But she didn’t cry, just kept doing as she was told, signing and initialing.

Afterward, out in the parking lot, she opened the door of her car and a wave of heat rolled up into her face. The stale odor of fast food and dog hair made her feel unsteady. She started the car, lowered all the windows and blasted the air conditioner to vent out the cabin and make it bearable.

She sat on the edge of the driver's seat with the door open, drawing on her vape pen and listening to the white noise of the busy Interstate in the distance. She closed her eyes and imagined that the sound was not traffic but a waterfall they had swam under during their honeymoon, and the cool air pouring out of the dashboard vents was the spray from the waterfall, and that her life had turned out even remotely like she had dreamed it would on that day.

She became aware of the car radio, which was tuned to a local station she'd found during the last minutes of her drive there from her apartment.

"Expect continued muggy conditions this evening," the announcer said, "with an overnight low of seventy-four degrees. After the break, Chef Ray will be in-studio with us taking your questions on summer grilling. The time is thirteen minutes past the hour."