The Meeting by James Somers

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A musty mix of sweat, rotting burger fragments and moisture hung thick in the air inside the cockpit, but Harold was well used to it. His only experience with the new car smell had been the bottled fragrance Sheryl had purchased for him two years ago; it now resided somewhere in the garbage catacombs underneath his seat.
He cranked the engine which spewed blackish smoke from the car's tailpipe and switched it into "D" on the steering column. The engine ticked loudly at first but soon quieted as the new oil began to circulate. The LTD had a good enough leak to keep him adding fresh oil every week. Harold goosed the gas pedal and spun a rooster tail of gravel back at the other cars parked nearby, leaving a bare patch in the parking lot behind him. He giggled at the thought of his landlord shaking his fist in the air at the sight of it. It wouldn't have been the first time.
He took his familiar route and headed for Sheryl's house. It would take him a good forty minutes to get there. Boy is she going to be surprised, he thought; when I show her this ticket she'll think she's the luckiest girl in the world being my girlfriend.
Maybe I'll mess with her a little and act like I'm thinking about breaking up with her. Naw, she'd probably believe me and start ballin and start a scene in front of the neighbors before I could tell her I was just kidding.
Harold got on the highway and put the pedal to the metal. Traffic wasn't at all bad today and he would make good time. He switched on the radio, the only part that still worked on the cassette deck and settled in for the trip.



Reid Stone, pillar of the community, upstanding member of the local Catholic parish, husband and father of three, and assistant to the city District Attorney squeezed on the trigger of his thirty eight special, but he couldn't bring himself to pull hard enough to fire the weapon. He sobbed uncontrollably as he lowered the gun from his temple and then took a deep breath again and put the gun back in place for the lethal blow, but he still couldn't do it. The gun slumped into his lap. He slammed a fist into the steering wheel of his Lexus over and over again; angry at his own cowardice.
He was even angrier that he had not used his gun yesterday when he had found them together in his own bed. His wife of twelve years had taken up with some other man; no one that he knew personally. He supposed he might have expected it.
Everything had gone sour between them after the accident that took their three children from them. The crash had ripped away the dearest parts of their lives and their marriage; nothing had been the same since. Over the course of the next year he had eventually lost his job as Assistant District Attorney for absenteeism and a final breakdown he had during a court proceeding. He felt like he was losing his mind.
Things between him and his wife had progressively gotten worse over that year. They had become so distant; hardly speaking to one another. The house had become so lonely and quite without the children and they had both turned inward to try and deal with the situation rather than speaking about it.
Secretly Reid had blamed God for the loss of the children.

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