Mrs. Lamb stole a small bottle of hand lotion before checking out of the motel with Hitch. They'd met early the previous morning and divided the balance of the day between coffee from a diner along the access road and beer from Just One Pour, the tavern next door. The hours grew into a liquid tarp stretched over them.
When he drank, Hitch angled his head back fast and mashed the glass against his lips, as if it was filled with angry bees. By nine in the tavern, a rash had grown on his cheek. Hitch took his nails to it. But the rash spread quickly to his psyche, which he could only scratch by confronting some sorry son of a bitch who was looking around. Maybe he was just trying to find the bathroom or jukebox or his bearings. Possibly he recognized Hitch and was about to approach and say Hitch, how the hell have you been? Perhaps the sorry son of a bitch was merely appreciating the damn fine feminine form of the woman Hitch had with him, Mrs. Lamb, with her white eyes and bloom of hair.
Hitch wore boots made from rattlesnake, with shafts of filed metal pushed through the tips. The sound of a field of cicadas rose in the tavern as Hitch unhooked the heels of his boot from the stool's footrest and began stabbing the metal points through the plywood that comprised the base of the bar. Next, Hitch walked over to the sorry son of a bitch and maneuvered him by the angles of his collar until his backside was facing Hitch. As the sorry son of a bitch said in a shaky voice, Okay, buddy, just cool down, Hitch moved back three steps exactly, then swung his foot full speed, jamming the metal point of his boot deep through the sorry son of a bitch's Wranglers, into his ass cheek.
The attention on Hitch had multiplied. Each patron watched. The commotion was a firework display melting red and silver and blue over an inconsolably dark January sky.
When Hitch retook his seat, Mrs. Lamb buried her head into his shoulder and bit so hard he could feel her laughter rattle his clavicle.
A year later, when the baby boy had been screaming for nine hours straight, seven overnight and two on a rooster schedule, Mrs. Lamb found the bottle of hand lotion in her old suitcase. She'd been saving it for the right occasion. This, she was sure, was it. A rash had started at the boy's temples like a low-slung crown and moved, fluvial, all the way down to his ankles. The idea was to slather lotion over the boy, then move him into the sun and wait. She was sure the lotion could heal him.
As sunlight sat on the kid, Mrs. Rash considered the inheritance of rashes. She considered Hitch, too, and remembered. In truth, she didn't know who the boy's dad was. But ever since she'd become pregnant, it made her happy thinking of Hitch's sperm, each with a little snake boot strapped to its tail, kicking through the fluids toward her fallopian promised land.