I Bought Twelve Pairs of Socks at a Swap Meet in Tucson

They were great socks too! The white, low-cut kind. Sporty. Cotton. First Quality. Made inPakistan. And cheap! My Lord, you’d say I stole them! But that happens later in the story. Let me tell you about Seth and me.

We rented a car, a Dodge Stratus, to drive fromPhoenixtoTucson. I was thinking about all the Mexican food I was going to eat, and the fast food places I would dine at that we didn’t have back home – Whataburger, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr. – when Seth hit a coyote. Going 75 mph on I-10 at 11:30 at night, Seth hits a coyote in the ass with the rental car.

“Holy shit!” Seth said, pulling over immediately. “Did you see that?”

“No,” I said. “Missed it. Why are you pulling over?”

“We just hit a dog, Derek.”

“No, you hit a coyote. What are you gonna do, exchange information?”

“I can’t just go.”

“Dude, people hit coyotes out here like we do squirrels and skunks. It’s not a big deal.”

“They do?”

“Yes. You’ve seen the Road Runner cartoons. That damn Wile E. got off light. It’s Death Race 2000 for coyotes on this highway.”

“Well, we should see if the car is damaged.”

“It’s a rental. We bought insurance. I told it would come in handy.”

“So, you want me to just continue on?”

“Yes!”

“Fine,” Seth said, pulling back onto the highway. He kept going on and on about the coyote. We didn’t have time for this nonsense. We had a job to do: fly into Phoenix, drive to Tucson, kill a dominatrix, drive back to Phoenix, and fly home.

Why kill a dominatrix?

We never ask those questions.

It was mid-October. We usually only did jobs inArizonain the winter when the weather is normal and the rattlesnakes are hibernating. I say “usually.” There was no usually about it. This was only Seth’s second time in AZ. Seth was a Nervous Nancy about Arizona, whatever the season. He feared everything about it: the heat, snakes, fires, cactus, killer bees. The first time we were here he swore to me that he saw an owl snatch a little puppy dog right from someone’s backyard. But here we were in October heading to Tucson with coyote remnants on our foot bumper.

We knew a few things about this dominatrix: her name was Megan, she was a student at the University, and she had really pissed someone off. We had a picture, her address, and the location of a swap meet she sold trinkets at every other weekend. She had a real pretty face. You couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to have her whacked.

When we got into Tucson we found a spot where we could sleep in the car for the rest of the night. I woke up at six to discover that Seth likes to sleep in the nude.

“Hey,” I said, nudging him slightly. “Wake up, you freak.”

He stirred a little, but didn’t wake up. So I slapped him hard across the face.

“Ow!” he shouted. “What the hell!”

“Dude,” I said. “You’re naked.”

“That’s how I sleep.”

“Nice,” I said. “Good to know. Our current situation might have called for an adjustment to this nightmare-inducing habit, don’t you think?”

“Whatever, man,” Seth said. He then stepped out of the car, stretching naked in  the Arizona morning air. He had a real good stretch, scratched himself a little, and was mauled by three coyotes. I could do nothing but sit in the safety of the Stratus and watch in stunned silence. They ravaged him and then came after me, but I started the car and got the hell out of there.

I regrouped at a Jack in the Box, consuming two breakfast sandwiches and an absurd amount of coffee. Seth always feared some creature in the desert would get him, be it a rattler, a javelina, or a coyote. I chalked it up to revenge for their slain brother on I-10 and journeyed to the swap meet by myself to complete our mission.

There’s nothing like countless Mexicans selling everything from stereo equipment to guns to bottles of shampoo, all of which may or may not be stolen. Several booths were selling Lucha Libre masks, the kind Mexican professional wrestlers wear, cheap. I bought one and walked around incognito, looking like my childhood hero Mil Mascaras. Children pointed at me like I was a famous Luchador.

This is when I bought those amazing socks. I needed them. They cheered me up after the Seth-coyote unpleasantness. So I was carrying a bag of socks and wearing a real dandy mask when I spotted Megan. She and some other guy were selling books. A lot of them were stories about murderers and World War II. There were several books about Hitler. I started to wonder if this Megan was a Nazi. Oh, I would enjoy killing this one.

“Excuse me,” I said upon approaching the both. “How much are you asking for these Hitler books?”

“Fifty cents each,” Megan said.

“Ooh, splendid,” I replied. “So you’re a fan of the Fuhrer, are you?”

“No,” she said. “What are you, stupid? My husband is a World War II buff. That’s all.”

“I see.” Call me stupid, will she? “Holy shit, look at that.”

And that’s when a Tyrannosaurus Rex appeared somehow instantly from the desert and trampled Megan’s entire booth, killing her and her husband instantly. I ran like hell and caught my plane back home. Mission accomplished.

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Michael Frissore is the author of two poetry chapbooks, including “Long Blue Boomerang” (Heavy Hands Ink Press, 2011). Currently, he is looking for a publisher for “Puppet Shows,” his hilarious collection of short stories, and penning a novel about professional wrestling.