Barn Sign

Barn Sign | Waterville, WA | 2018

Every time Carla drives past the barn’s old-fashioned billboard, she yearns for a tonic that would cure her ills. Something packed with exotic herbs to cleanse her blood, lessen her torpor, take the edge off what quack doctors once called “female hysteria.” No lie. The pressures of work, kids, parents, and now Phillip’s lay-off have pushed her to a jittery precipice. She’s begun to chew her cuticles. Her evening glass of wine has increased to three. Nothing soothes — not the gym, not meditation, not the rosary. “I need a jolt,” Carla sighs. “I need something to …” Up ahead, she sees a woman dashing from a farmhouse to the road. Carla slows, stops. “Please help me,” the woman stammers, breathless. Blood scuffs her brow. Behind her, a lanky man in overalls bounds from the front stoop toward the car. “Get in,” Carla orders the woman, and spins a u-turn onto the county road. She passes the old barn doing 80 mph without a glance at its sign touting medical malarkey.