Rom drops Dawn off at the downtown San Andreas bus station already past her bedtime and the bus leaves late; it's after eleven when she boards and settles down for the long overnight to Los Angeles. The seat a relief after the sullen anger of the dusky station. She unfastens her sandals, folds her legs next to her. The bus lurches and accelerates through city streets, through the crime-ridden flats of Southshore, through the industrial towns and suburbs, over the hill where windmills stand broken and stilled, and onto Highway 5; a straight shot down the valley with nothing to interrupt the flow.
A hot summer night, not unlike this one. A bus ride through California. A young man. An older woman...
Read the rest of my short story "Talking to Strangers" here: http://www.redroom.com/articlestory/talking-strangers-ericka-lutz
And an anecdote about reading this story out loud at a reading:
In my Californian accent, the names "Dawn" and "Don" sound exactly the same. Those are the names of the two main characters in this story. As hard as I tried to pronounce Dawn as "Dawwwn" and Don as "Dahn," it still got completely confusing. The audience was confused, I was frustrated, and I decided 1. Never again to read this story aloud (no podcast of this one!) and 2. To be careful in the future what I name my characters.
Again, though, you can read the story here: http://www.redroom.com/articlestory/talking-strangers-ericka-lutz