Laura Lofgren

It was hot out. The cigarette held loosely in the girl’s long fingers didn’t help the matter. But she put the stick up to her dry lips and inhaled. She released a stream of smoke from her lungs into the humid air. It was silent out in the middle of nowhere. She sat on the front porch of her ranch-style house. The closest neighbor was a dairy farm about half a mile down the road. The girl looked out into the field across the street. Pure green. She could see the dark shadows from the clouds above swimming over the slight hills of the field. Taking another hit from her cigarette, a buzzing sound crawled into her ear. Looking away from the emerald abyss, the girl spotted a wasp whirling dangerously close to her head. The small dot flew in front of her face and, instinctively, she raised her hand in an attempt to swat it down. Missed. The insect came around for another shot. This time, she hit her target and the wasp was smacked to the concrete. The girl moved to the left and inched to the bug. It was still kicking, trying to get up. As smoke exited her mouth, the girl continued to watch the poor thing struggle for life. The sun was beating down now and the girl felt it more than ever. The yellow stripes contrasted the deep black ones on the wasp’s body. They shined as it moved from side to side, it’s stinger curled slightly against its abdomen. The girl could see the increasing exhaustion the insect was feeling. Taking a deep breath, she took her cigarette and pressed it against the struggling, winged creature. The hot ash burned through the tough exterior, through to the concrete underneath. The wasp stopped moving as it took one last look at the world. It’s body, burned, curled into a fetal position and was still. The girl, unfazed by the death of the slight irritation, flicked the cigarette bud into the yard and lit another one. She stared out into the deep beryl grassland again. A tractor puttered from down the road as she took another long drag. It was just another day of summer in the middle of nowhere.

-Laura Lofgren