“I try not to think about dead things and plumbing.” —Maria, Play It As It Lays.
After she hung up she packed one bag and drove to the desert.
Where’ve you been, he said.
He twisted a silver medallion on his chest so that it flashed in the sun.
She was standing in the sun by the window, brushing her hair.
I need help, she said. I need help bad.
She slept and did not dream.
He looked untouched and she did not.
They mentioned everything but one thing…
She closed her eyes and concentrated on a prayer she had learned as a child.
She would do what he wanted.
She would tell him she could not wait.
The floor of the bedroom where it happened was covered with newspapers.
She had a sense the dream had ended and she had slept on.
She knew a lot of things about disaster.
He adjusted the dial but the sound remained level.
The table was a doctor’s table but not fitted with stirrups:
In a way she was relieved.
She put her bare feet on the dashboard and pressed her face
against her knees.
The late sun glazed the Pacific.
The wind burned on her face.
There would be plumbing anywhere she went.