On the first trip down Lombard Street, the dad said, We’re gonna crash. We’re gonna crash. Over the cheering, the mom said dumbfoundedly, Would you look at all those colorful flowers in front of those beautiful houses? After the sixth trip winding down Lombard Street, the roller coaster effect waned and even the dad let out a yawn as he took a sharp curve, only his thumbs pressed at the bottom of the steering wheel. So it was off to Fisherman’s Wharf, grabbing handfuls of chocolate samples and barking back at the sea lions sunbathing on the tiny piers. The dad said, Too bad we don’t have our BB guns. Over the clapping, the mom said restlessly, Precariously perched on petite piers. From a brown paper bag came liter bottles of warm soda and sour dough bread and gobs of butter, all laid out across the wide hood of the station wagon like a holiday dinner. It was getting late. Out on the bay, the bridge’s soft lights were fuzzy fireflies. At the airport parking lot, the dad said, We’re having a secret rendezvous with someone. He wouldn’t say who, but maybe Aunt Jen and the cousins Heather, Henry, and Augustine. No, maybe it’s Bud and his seeing-eye dog, Buddy, Jr. No! It’s Marv and Shelly from Indiana. Over more guessing, the mom said tiredly, Maybe I’m being dropped off to fly to Bermuda. At one of the gates, the dad and mom stretched out on a row of chairs. An all night gift shop’s clerk peeked around the corners of magazine racks, her humongous red Afro giving advance warning every time. The drinking fountain water tasted mossy. The enormous bathrooms echoed back yelps and singing and bangs of stall doors like mortar rounds. When the dad was woken up to find out how soon Aunt Jen and Heather, Henry, Augustine, Bud and Buddy Jr., and Marv and Shelly would finally arrive on the plane, he whispered, Go sit in front of the gate so we don't miss them. Over the whining, the mom said longingly, I was having such a nice dream about laying in flowerbeds. By morning, no one arrived. The dad said, They flew over the Bermuda Triangle, and poof! Over all the screaming, the mom said irritably, I want to get back into that station wagon like I want to jump into the freezing bay.
Dan Crawley's stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, New World Writing, The Airgonaut, matchbook, and North American Review. He is a recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts creative writing fellowship and has taught fiction workshops at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and other colleges. He is a fiction reader for Little Patuxent Review. Find him at https://dancrawleywrites.wordpress.com/