Chelsea Ardle is a writer, Pennsylvania-native, Ohio-transplant, and explorer, by all accounts. She received her MFA degree from Chatham University and is the assistant editor of Vagabond City Literary Journal. Her work has been published in matchbook literary magazine. She enjoys vistas that make her feel small, exploring places in a state of recovery, and perfecting the science of pancakes. You can find her on instagram @chardle and she tweets @thechardle.
A Timeline of Two Cities
St. Paul, Minnesota
We meet at the sushi place
He came straight from work
They are in a car, driving
A man, his girlfriend, and their daughter
Still dressed in shiny black
Shoes and his nice gray slacks.
The girl is young, maybe 7 or 8 years old.
One of the brake lights is out, flat red.
We order sushi with tuna and smoked salmon
Covered in fish roe, bright orange-red drops,
Blinking lights and sirens behind the family
They pull over to the side of the highway
It is my second day at a new job
I tell him it went well, they let me write
“Sir, do you know that your tail light is out”
“Can I see your license and registration?”
I tell him I will buy us ice cream
He orders churro, I get wildberry
The man tells the officer
He is licensed to carry
He hands me his unfinished cone
Brimming with soupy cream
The man thinks this is a courtesy
Reaches into his pocket for the license, unknowing
“I don’t want this, I’m full.”
“It’s yours.” “No it’s not”
The officer is threatened
By the admission and he knows his job
I playfully dump the cream onto the pavement
Splashing, splatter, unknowing
Is to protect [himself]
But is the danger present?
Ice cream sputters through the air
The trigger, taut, now further
Onto his shiny black shoes, new still
Shots fired, maybe 2, no, 4
His face is red in anger
His face grows gray, pale, slack