Going for a Ride

“You’re a bit glum,” Barkley twittered.

I nearly glared at him, stopped myself just short, stared at the road. Even then, I could see the blood he’d smeared all over the dash, the knife still held tightly in one of his hands. Through gritted teeth, I said, “I’m not very good with stains in my car.”

Barkley cackled loudly. “I asked you if you had any wet napkins when we got in.”

I didn’t respond.

“Since this clearly isn’t going anywhere,” he continued, “we may as well start over. My name is Barkley.” He extended his hand. This time I actually looked at him, and he was smiling a genuinely friendly smile. It looked alien on his face. Almost as disgusting as the gore on his hand.

“Charles,” I said, ignoring his hand.

He smiled wider. “May I call you Chuck?”

“Not unless you want to be called Peppermint Patty.”

Barkley howled with laughter. “Charles, then. I like you, Charles. I feel that this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”

I shook my head. Barkley patted my shoulder. I cringed.

We drove on.

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