You’re in the pickup with Scotty B and buzzing with anticipation cause you’re about to score and this makes your skin tingle thinking about the rush of dopamine and potential for sudden violence that comes with every deal and to feed the synergy you reach for the volume on the stereo just as the song ends and the void of sound takes you back to the bar
where amid the neon and dinge of a dive turned trendy you caught the lean through the corner of your eye before the kiss between two guys who looked like college kids enjoying a night on-the-slum and unaware of the culture shift when you leave the sandstone and iron of Okie Yuppie U.
Your first instinct was fear so you scanned the bar while telling yourself this is Tulsa and waited for the slur you’ve heard so many times it has no impact anymore and your mind went back to the night you and Scotty B were good and lit and laughing and you placed a hand on the curve of his ribs in a manner that made his spine stiffen as he shrugged away and this instant had you at the brink of fight or flight until Scotty B pretended nothing happened and you let your fists uncurl.
This is Tulsa. And you can’t understand the way things are changing because you know it never will for you with your line of descent traced through generations of Hank and Merle and Cash on vinyl and your father singing Garth’s ode with the bulls and blood and dust and mud and in the silence between songs you turn to Scotty B and twang out the drawl real nice when you tell him used to be they called this shit Horse back in the seventies and that’s the best name for a drug they ever was.
by Geoff Peck
Geoff Peck received his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of North Dakota. His fiction and poetry have appeared in over a dozen journals and he has been nominated for Best New American Poets after winning the Academy of American Poets Thomas McGrath Award.