"Hole"


Angel started out in the morning from Lake City, Florida in his blue, beat-up Skylark, going west on I-10 with Casey at his side and her husband's dead body in the trunk. He drove the whole day before stopping at a small, one-story motel in Louisiana called The Captain's Table.

In the lobby, Angel registered them under a fake name and paid eighteen dollars for a room. A pale, bony man wearing an undershirt and suspenders sat behind the front desk and gave him the key. He warned him not to steal or break anything. No parties allowed.

After Angel unlocked the door and walked into their room, Casey followed and turned on the light. She dragged a hand through her hair and spoke for the first time in over four hours. She said, "There's two beds in here."

"Yeah. Doubles' all they got left." He set their suitcases down and collapsed onto the bed nearest the door.

Casey took off her sunglasses and gripped her elbows. "It's cold."

"Let's just get some sleep. We can unpack whatever we need later. All right?"

She sat heavily on the corner of the bed next to him. She rested her forehead in her hand. "I seriously doubt I could sleep much right now."

Angel tried to think of something vague and appropriate to respond with but nothing came. He got goosebumps. She was right; it was cold.

For a moment they stayed hushed and motionless on the bed until Casey got up, went to the door, and closed it. She put the chain through the lock and leaned against the wall, frowning, making a show of it.

"You okay?" he asked her.

"Not very," she said.

Angel made another silence before he sat up and sighed. "Baby Doll, we've been talking about this whole thing for what? A month? What are you acting so shocked about?"

"Honey, my God, how can you speak like that?" she asked, her voice caught between laughing and crying.

"Like what?"

"Like I'm just being silly or something. I've never killed anyone before. Let alone someone I was married to."

"First off, I ain’t never killed no one neither. And we didn't do nothing. I did. And I did it 'cause I wanted to. Christ, babe, he kept you black and blue since the day you married him."

She shook her head. "I wonder now if we did the smartest thing."

With a slow sureness, Angel lifted himself off the bed. He walked over and stood in front of her. "Baby, c'mon. I knew his type real good. From prison. Either I did what I did or you'd be the one in the trunk of a car somewhere, especially if he ever found out about us, which he was bound to. I guarantee that. Besides, missing him, are you?"

"Of course not," she whispered.

"So be happy then. This is the happily-ever-after part of the story.”

Casey said Angel's name beneath a short, shaky breath.

"Look, it's only me and you now,” he told her. “If you’ve changed your mind about wanting that, you sure picked some sorry timing." He touched her temple. He let his hand wander from her face to her neck, then further down. He held one of her breasts and massaged it. She raised the hand away by the wrist.

"No," she said. "Don't even."

He put a finger to her lips and kissed her on the neck. But when he took her face in his hands, she began to sob, her face squeezed red with anguish. She dropped her sunglasses and grabbed two fistfuls of her hair.

Angel said, "Hey. Hey. Hey. No. Baby. Shhhh, relax."

She moved into his arms. He whispered to her over and over that it was all right. They'd be in California before she or anyone else knew it. They'd both always wanted to visit the west coast anyway, hadn't they? He reminded her how they would start over there, blend in, just the two of them, like nothing had ever happened. Everything would be okay. Everything. Not one damn thing to worry about. She’d see.