m e g    p o k r a s s

Moon Roof


Bob's new used car broke down right there at Avila Beach, near Morro Bay. He said the guts of the car were cheap, and nothing surprised him. Not knowing shit about cars, I agreed. He was my step-dad and I agreed with his observations.

"That ocean is indigo," I said.

You could see the gem-blue ocean from the highway. Diablo Nuclear Power Plant, where Bob worked, was right nearby.

We were stopped along the shoulder. I remembered the first night with the new used car, when he proudly opened the moon roof by touching a button.

"Why did I buy a motherfucking sedan?" he said. As if I knew. He seemed to imagine there was some kind of a lever which could reset things by asking.

"Freeway air is bad shit, baby, so breathe through your nose."

Mom was pregnant and looked cute that way, though her hair seemed dry as Astro-Turf and she’d become less jokey.

Her friend Susan sent me an e-mail telling me to keep my eye on her. The e-mail said, "She's oldish to be doing all of this again from scratch, just know it."

Bob said Triple-A would be here soon, and we should just listen to the sound of the ocean for a while. "Hey, you smell like flowers," he said. The perfume I had on was called "Tenderness". It made men sniff the air confusedly, but it also attracted bees.

"You and your Ma," he said. He took my hand, and put it firmly in his jacket pocket. Held it there tight. I tried not to pull away but did. He put my hand right back. We were a yoyo family. It was going to be a long time until things worked again.



MEG POKRASS is the author of Damn Sure Right, a collection of flash fiction from Press 53. Her short novel, Card Houses, has recently been selected for a screenplay adaptation. Her work has appeared in over 150 literary journals. She serves as Senior Editor for Frederick Barthelme's BLIPMAGAZINE (formerly Mississippi Review), and lives near the ocean in San Francisco with her husband, daughter, and seven animals.

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