Pressed Luck

Pressed Luck, an excerpt from the short story in Ripple Meets the Deep

by Jason Tinney

They rejoined the Natchez Trace in Tupelo, birthplace of the “King of Rock ‘n Roll.” Not a single word had passed between them since they left Oxford. The music was turned down low, tuned to a blues station on their satellite radio. Helen was engrossed in a road map with Pr Luck car road ex webdecorated veins of pink and yellow and orange highlights, plotting a course upon the eight-thousand-year-old trail, the “Devil’s Backbone”—carved and trampled upon by the bearded buffalo; the Choctaw and Chickasaw; Spanish Conquistadors, De Soto’s futile search for gold; hearty pioneers propelled by an unwavering belief in Manifest Destiny, Davy Crocket-type-frontiersmen and thieving highwaymen.

“You know there’s a whole country passing you by while you’re looking down at that map,” Jack said.

Helen took a deep breath. “There was a time when I didn’t believe in you.”

“What?”

She shook her head gently. “I wasn’t sure about you. Had my doubts.”

Helen looked down at the map and circled something with the pink highlighter. “When we get into Tennessee, I’d like to stop at the Meriwether Lewis Site. That’s where he killed himself—or was murdered. His grave is marked with a broken stone. Symbolizes a life cut short.”

She turned the air-conditioning off and rolled down the window and let her hand sail as the red-clay hills, devoured by kudzu, passed in the rearview mirror.

“What’s this not-believing thing about?” Jack said.Pr Luck cannon ex web

“Yes,” Helen said, neatly folding the map. “There was a time when I had my doubts.”

“Before or after we were married?”

She opened a bottle of water and took a sip. “Well, of course I had doubts before we were married. Why wouldn’t I have doubts before we were married?…I wasn’t sure you were going to see this thing through.”

Jack focused on the road…