Winter 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2008 |

Safety

Men. The oil man said that he'd heard I could hold my poison. Jane and I laughed at the corroded jumble of a still he'd brought back from the desert—we told him that we wouldn't drink the shit kind of hooch that was only good enough for rig roughnecks and Yemenis. "Hey, what d'ya want from me," he said. "Ask her," Jane said. She had her last ticket back to London in three weeks. Later, when we'd all switched to lemon gin and it was clear I wasn't going home that night, she said, "Watch it, darling. I wouldn't go for that one if I were you." I said I wasn't her and she just gave me her look, the one that means, you're a hard case, Kimberly. He had money, coming off three years on a rig in the Empty Quarter. And he had that look men get here early, the weathering in a boyish face, gray flecks in the hair. He couldn't go back home, he said. Then they'd know how much he really had. But a nice life here in the city, settle down a bit, now maybe that wouldn't be so terrible…I

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