This past fall I joined a talented group of writers as a contributing member of A Muse Bouche Review, a literary newsletter. It gives me a chance to write something new each month around a given theme, which I’m enjoying. The theme for January, 2023 is False Promises and my story is called The Coyote and the Hitchhiker: A Noir Fable. Here’s how it starts:
THE BOBCAT HAD BEEN hitchhiking for hours.
His last ride, a long haul trucker with a load of sheet metal, dropped him at the Ely turnoff. Not a single car had passed since then. Now the two-lane highway seemed to levitate from the waves of heat shimmering off the blacktop. The Nevada sun looked like a swollen blister ready to pop, an irritation in the cloudless western sky.
The bobcat’s paws left sweaty prints in the breakdown-lane gravel as he walked. He carried a scuffed nylon duffle bag that seemed to grow heavier with each step.
When a low hum infiltrated his consciousness, the bobcat glanced back. A plume of dust stained the sky. The hum became a throaty growl, the dust plume morphed into a low-slung red sports car chewing up asphalt. The bobcat held up one paw and tried his best to look friendly, non-threatening, and slightly pathetic all at once. The car thundered past, then the driver stood on the brakes, fishtailing onto the berm. He threw it into reverse, and after the tires found traction the car slid to a shuddering stop next to the bobcat.
The bobcat admired the car while the driver reached across the passenger seat to roll the window down. It was an absolutely cherry condition Plymouth Roadrunner, the engine shaking like it could barely be contained at idle. The bobcat leaned his head into the window, and the icy kiss of air from the interior made him swoon with pleasure.
“Where ya heading, friend?” The driver was a coyote, the silver hairs wreathing his snout betraying his age. He slouched in his seat like it was a chaise lounge, his left paw draped over the leather-wrapped steering wheel, Ray-Ban Wayfarers obscuring his eyes as he looked at the stranger.
To read the entire story, and all the other stories from this talented crew, check out the January A Muse Bouche Review, available here: