Gas Money

Gas Money

Kim Teeple

Jim has a tattoo of Jesus. I kiss Tattoo Jesus on the lips and have an epiphany. I heard about epiphanies in church, when you suddenly know something big, and I knew I loved Jim and Jesus.

Jim has to go to court for punching a guy. We get down on our knees and pray together in the storage room at work. I tell him Jesus forgives him because the guy he punched was an asshole.

Jim drives his brother’s Camaro to work—it’s green with collector plates. His brother says he can drive it once a week on Tuesdays when his brother goes to physical therapy. The deal is we have to put a week’s worth of gas in it, wash it, and detail the inside before we give it back. And we can’t smoke.  

The Camaro is parked behind the restaurant where there aren’t any windows so Jim keeps opening the back door to check on it. The assistant manager tells Jim to stop opening the back door because it sets off the bell up front and it’s driving him crazy. Jim says fuck you. We both quit. We pray to Jesus about how to get some money to put gas in the Camaro.

We’re sitting in the car sharing a smoke when we see this sign on a telephone pole for a lost cat and a reward. The cat is just a plain old orange tabby and it looks like a thousand cats I’ve seen, and when I tell Jim this he comes up with the idea to find a cat, any orange cat that looks like the picture, and turn it in for the reward. His brother is still at physical therapy so we drive around looking for cats.  

We see an orange cat. Jim sneaks up behind the cat and snatches it by the scruff of its neck. The cat scratches Jim’s arm. Tattoo Jesus is bleeding.

Jim tosses the cat in the back seat of the Camaro. The cat goes nuts and starts clawing the seat trying to get out and it shits and pees all over the upholstery.

Jim kills the cat with his Swiss Army knife. I tell him not to feel bad, the cat was crazy.

Jim’s brother is waiting for us in the parking lot of his apartment building.  

When his brother sees the back seat of the Camaro he starts swearing and yelling and punching Jim in the head. I try to pull his arm away but he punches me in the nose and pushes me down. My nose is bleeding and Jim is screaming.

Jim kills his brother with his Swiss Army knife and helps me to the Camaro. We drive for a long time. After a while I tell Jim we should kneel and pray. We kneel down right next to the Camaro in a rest area and I ask Jesus to help us find some money for gas.

Kim Teeple lives by a pond in Minnesota. Some of Kim's stories can be found online and in print. Kim Teeple is also a 2009-2010 Loft Literary Center Mentor Series winner in fiction. 

Illustration by Meghan Murphy.

What Happens Next

What Happens Next

A Clue

A Clue