CHRISTMAS PANTIES IN JULY • by Gillian King-Cargile

So what if I wear Christmas panties in July? As long as I don’t get in a car accident, no one will ever know.

So what if one pair has a small bell on the back that jingles softly under my sundress like a sweet silver secret? I’m a very safe driver. Hands on the wheel. Ten and two. Always driving just under the speed limit. Sixty-three in a sixty-five.

So what if I sometimes think about sliding across the sweating pavement and the double-yellow line, or dipping over the steep-shouldered side of the highway? I get tired of being safe. Hands off the wheel. Car, suddenly free, swerving wherever it wants to crash.

So maybe my leg gets pinned between the seat and the dash on impact? Crushed a little. And someone with their cell phone in a beach bag will have to call an ambulance. And the paramedics will have to lift me gently out of the wreck. Their serious faces leaning in so close to mine. Sweat on their upper lips. Determination in their eyes.

And they will use their sterile silver scissors to snip the leg of my jeans, to cut me free, to see my underwear’s small red stockings waiting to be stuffed.

“Peace on Earth,” I’ll say as their snow-white surgical gloves push my wild hair gently out of my eyes and dab the sweat off my forehead.

“Good will to men,” I’ll say as they pull an oxygen mask over my mouth.

“Merry Christmas,” I’ll say as one paramedic sits by my side holding my hand and the other drives fast and safe to the hospital leaving sunscreen-slick vacationers cold in the retreating blue and red lights of the ambulance.

And my breath will fog up the stiff silicone mask like ice across a winter windowpane.

Gillian King-Cargile is the author of several books and short stories. She lives with her family in DeKalb, Illinois, where barbed-wire was invented.

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