:: Article

Better Things

By Andrea Kneeland.

My husband’s best friend is this guy that he works with. They make burritos together behind a glass sneeze-guard while customers yell orders at them. Then, sometimes, my husband yells orders at his friend because my husband is the boss at the burrito place. It doesn’t matter that he’s the boss. He still makes burritos for a living. Neither of them are even Mexican.

My husband’s best friend is named Dave. Dave lives in a van. My husband thinks that this is evidence of Dave’s exceptional intelligence. Dave has a common-sense sort of intelligence, the type of intelligence that people who are good at finance have. Dave determined that living in a van is cheaper than paying rent on an apartment. Living in a van doesn’t cost him anything, and since he showers at the Y, he doesn’t have to pay a water bill either.

“What does he spend all of his extra money on?” I ask my husband.

“What do you mean?”

“The money he would use for rent. What does he spend that money on?”

My husband tells me that I’m missing the point. That people don’t have to spend money to be happy.

Dave got his van for a good price because it was a suicide van – meaning that the woman who sold the van sold it because her husband had shot himself in the head while he was sitting in the van, and she was too distressed to clean the blood stains and bone chips out of the upholstery. That sort of thing reduces a vehicle’s blue book value.

“It seems kind of creepy,” I tell my husband. “But I suppose if he has it cleaned, it’s fine.” I’m pretty sure you don’t even have to disclose a car’s death rate if there’s no blood visible. My car could be a suicide car, for all I know. I bought it used.

“He doesn’t need to have it cleaned. The van runs fine,” my husband tells me…

“But it’s blood,” I say.

“He has better things to spend his money on.”

“Like what?”

“You don’t get it,” he says. He steps onto the back patio with his beer like he’s home by himself.

andrea-kneelandABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrea Kneeland
has no plans for the future. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals, including Quick Fiction, Weird Tales, Hobart, Caketrain, American Letters & Commentary, 580 Split, Night Train, elimae, DIAGRAM, alice blue review, Whiskey Island, Storyglossia, The Binnacle, Dogzplot and Lamination Colony. Her first collection of flash fiction, Damage Control, is forthcoming from Paper Hero Press as part of the Fox Force 5 chapbook collective.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, June 19th, 2009.