December 1, 2015 by The Citron Review
by Chris J. Rice
Hot, even with the windows open. Gritty sand filled air blew into our hair and eyes. Stuck together in the sticky heat, skin pressed into the car seats, we sat hour after hour as Mama drove over the El Cajon pass, though the hills, into the desert, and across to Yuma. The same old, same old route, from the edge to the center and back again, over and over. Before long I knew the way by heart. After Yuma we would hit Tucson, then Las Cruces, and finally the flat fierceness of Texas. I read all the signs along the way—small and hand painted signs, large neon staked in the ground signs, signs as solid as buildings, and signs melting into fence posts. Cantilevered overhead signs, and nailed to razor wire fences signs. Signs shouting printed words in blocky letters advertising food, leather, snake skins, moccasins and bags, turquoise jewelry, snake venom and strange misshapen monsters. Lucky charms, papooses and totem poles were only miles away.
Stop and see them, stop and buy them. They’re only miles away.
Stop, Mama stop.
Stop and let us see.
Mama never stopped.
Chris J. Rice is a writer/artist settled in Los Angeles after earning an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She has been published in Necessary Fiction, Pithead Chapel and [PANK] Online. Roxane Gay selected her short story “The Lid” for inclusion in wigleaf’s top 50 (very) short fiction 2014.