curio by laura ellen scott




The simple thing—lock the car. But that’s not really such a simple thing. By morning sometimes the glove box is open, sometimes the cup holder is pulled out. Sometimes the sunglasses have been moved. Nothing ever stolen. 

The scarf lady in the driveway creeps up to higher ground to see if the bus is coming. There’s no malice in her bags full of onions.

The bus is not coming any time soon. She’s all the way up to the car now and peers into it, checking out the contents of the backseat. Is she thinking about getting in? Don’t people know that if the car is in the drive that means someone’s home? 

She stares into the car. Her onions pull her pretty shoulders down. She seems disappointed.

She’s not the one who comes at night, is she? She can’t be the one who rummages through the cds and maps. She has onions for god’s sake, and a family that enjoys onions. Perhaps where she’s from there is no privacy. 

Dirty Santa has bags too, crammed full of things found and given, and he crosses the street to join the woman. Walks right up to the car and looks in. Makes a face. The onion woman pantomimes that the bus is not coming soon. Perhaps she doesn’t speak English. Perhaps she does this for the benefit of the car’s owner, who is a voyeur in his own home, peeking through the blinds.

Don’t they know he’s right there? Dirty Santa opens the back door for the onion lady, and she slides right in. Dirty Santa gets in beside her. The bus isn’t coming for some time. They wait comfortably, out of the wind and sunshine, investigating the contents of each other’s bags.

The neighbor’s dog howls at the outrage being done in the driveway beyond the fence. Diminished, not even as brave as a terrier, the voyeur steps away from the window.

One time a woman he barely knew said that he resembled George Clooney. This was at a wedding reception. At the time he was shocked by the comparison, but he didn’t have anyway of knowing the slurry compliment would be his fondest adult memory.

The voyeur removes his clothes, noting the dust on his erection. A spider has traveled the lonesome span between glans and balls so many times its web could be played like the strings on an angel’s harp. The web reports the vibration of the bus as it passes, not stopping to collect the lady or Dirty Santa. It’s only natural to assume they have moved into the car permanently, and that they are procreating and eating onions and dropping onions under the seats.

The voyeur is in quite a state. Naked and stiff as a corpse god, he grabs the keys.