Four Views of the Big Cigar in Winter
by Charlie Bookout
She watched him tromp away and quickly disappear into the blizzard. Had he survived a little longer, she would have given him the big news he was dreading. But a madman with a hammer would find him that afternoon and mercifully spare him the trouble.
Her tears were starting to freeze on her cheeks. She yawned and looked to the east. Snowflakes swirled against the fragile glow like volcanic ash.
No one would see her. Everyone else was indoors: listening to the weather guy for closings, checking the cocoa supply, planning snow forts. She had observed that Arkansans, as a rule, did not prepare for snow—not like their neighbors to the north—and that the residents of Cedar Hill were particularly myopic. They would weave along slick streets like drunkards. They would entrust their children to the talents of school bus drivers who had established records of vehicular homicide. They would neither chain their tires nor salt their bridges. They would pretend that nothing had changed. But only to a point. When a storm like this one came around, even Cedar Hill gave up and stayed home. Bone-aching winter had assailed the Ozark Plateau like a nocturnal predator, and all the other rabbits were snug in their warrens. No one would see her.
No one but the crow on the branch above her.