I picked up a young woman hitchhiking on a lonely desert road.

“Where you headed?” I asked.

“Las Vegas. My asshole boyfriend threw me out here.”

Fifteen minutes later she needed to pee, so I stopped at an empty rest area. Suddenly, she pointed a handgun at me.

“Give me your wallet, cell phone and car keys.”

I watched her race off in my car.

When an old farmer picked me up he said “I heard there was a fatal accident up ahead. A silver sedan crashed off those zigzagging cliffs near Rattlesnake Summit.”

Sometimes my brakes lock up.




Neil TarpeyThe North Coast Journal voted Neil Tarpey’s Handgun Wedding its best 99-word flash fiction story in 2009. A contest judge referred to Neil’s 2014 award-winning The Frog Clan as “a gem.” Eleven of Neil’s flash fiction stories have been published, most recently in Red Fez Magazine. Neil quit booze and drugs at age 31, and subsequently earned two master’s degrees, in Teaching Writing and in Counseling Psychology, from Humboldt State University. Neil and his wife each grew up in New York City but met in Northern California’s redwood country, where they live with their two dogs.