A Fine-Looking Thing

By J.T. Robertson

Me and Jessie Lee were friends and had been for years. We went to school together, dropped out together, went to work over at Hart’s furniture together. Lived less than three blocks from each other, spent pretty much every day together. Never had a problem between us. It was all easy going. No sweat at all. Reliable. Now I don’t even know where he ended up. Last I heard he was in Oklahoma somewhere, but that’s been a year or two.

Everything changed once he met Lee. Her name was Alicia, but she made everybody call her Lee. Said it was because she was General. Never knew what that meant and didn’t really care, so I never asked.  She liked to say her and Jessie had a lot in common, both of them having Lee as a name. Seemed to think that was cute.

She moved to town two days after the old hardware store burned down, and that’s the first time me and Jessie Lee saw her. She was standing there in an old Green Day t-shirt with a pair of cutoffs and cowboy boots. All the bits of her that were bare were covered in fine, glowing peach-fuzz, lit up by the setting sun cutting right through the remains of Harper’s Hardware. It was like slow motion in a movie, and even now, I have to admit she was a fine-looking thing.

“You think someone set it on fire?” she asked as we walked up beside her. She didn’t look at either of us, just kept her eyes shaded with one hand, a green plastic bracelet dangling on her wrist.

“Probably,” Jessie said, making the first move. He wasn’t one to hesitate, especially when it came to women. I was more the wait and see type. Still have never had a steady girlfriend. They’re all trouble, especially in a town this small…