by Josie A. Okuly

  There was still time to change her mind.  The coyote pointed at the trunk of the rusted Oldsmobile.  She walked over to the car.  She ran her hands around the contours feeling for the air holes.  They were small but they were there.  People said don't trust a coyote if the trunk had no air holes. 
  Was this the solution?  What other choice was there? 
  There were always choices.
  "How long will I ride in the trunk?" she demanded.
  The coyote looked surprised.  The wetback women never questioned anything he said.
  "Thirty minutes.  The border patrol comes by this area once a day.  They've already been and gone.  There's a dirt road then a shallow river crossing.  When I open the trunk, you'll be an Americano."  He laughed.
  She watched him tilt his head back as he gulped down tequila.  He bent back so far she thought he might lose his balance and fall on the ground.  He straightened himself up then capped the bottle. 
  "You want to do this or not?" he looked at her sharply.  "I've got other customers."  Either tequila or sweat rolled down his dirty chin.  The liquid produced tiny highways through the black hair of his beard.
  She looked back at a lone saguaro cactus standing stark against the brown desert.  There was nothing here.  Her fingers throbbed with pain.  A little souvenir of her years at the factory.  She earned two cents a day in that sweatshop.  She lived in a plywood box in a desert shantytown.  She had no family, no running water, no restroom.
  What other choice was there?  If he murdered her, would it be such a bad thing? 
  She lay down in the trunk.  She pushed her nose against one of the air holes.  He stood above her.  One arm rested on the top of the trunk, the other held his bottle of tequila.  His expression sharpened.  His eyes brightened.  His nostrils began to flare.
JOSIE OKULY says, "When I went back to college after a twenty year hiatus, I rediscovered my childhood love of writing.  I am definitely a late-bloomer in every area of my life.  While most of my friends are dealing with teenagers and grandchildren, I chase after a six year old."  She has had poetry and short stories published at Anotherealm, Millennium Shift, and the E Street Journal.
The Adirondack Review