“The Ice Cream Prayer:” A Sequel to “They Preached With Fire”

(Hey, hey! So, I debated about writing a follow-up to “They Preached With Fire.” With some encouragement from fellow blogger, Lianna of  Sunflower Sojurn , I decided to go for it. Thank you Lianna! 🙂 This sequel is a flash fiction piece that’s from Simon’s perspective. Of course, I posted one of my favorite songs after the conclusion of the story. Please feel free to let me know what you think of the characters: “Amelia” and “Simon.“)

Flash Fiction _2

An assembly line. My two sisters and my mom did each other’s hair in this way. Every couple of weeks, they brought out the relaxers. They combed the white smooth substance throughout their hair, which would take them from what they called “nappy” to “straight.” When they saw the slightest curl popping from their scalps, they would complain and plop gel onto the stubborn strand. Once, I texted my sisters a picture of Amelia’s thick curls and encouraged them to get rid of the chemicals in their hair. Yet, they argued that natural hair was “too much” and that only certain women looked right with it. They referred to Amelia as “naturally gorgeous.”

Amelia and I stood outside of a locally owned ice cream shop. Amelia often ranted to me about how we should support local businesses, as they contributed positively to our community. The usual statements about how these businesses improved the economy and gave people jobs. I agreed with her.

Amelia looked different. She’d explained that she had her hair layered. I didn’t really like this look, but her hair was still natural.

“Maybe, I can pawn the ring. Or something. I don’t know,” I stated.

“Oh…I hate that you have to do that,” Amelia responded.

“Well…too much time passed by. I’ll look at the receipt again. See if I can return it.”

“I hope you’re able to return it.”

The ice cream shop was busy. It was a popular hangout for college students. A large and racially mixed group of young men and women, laughed and trampled into the shop.

“I guess I’ll have to talk to Pastor and let him that I won’t be at church anymore. Revoke my membership. I wish I didn’t have to,” Amelia said.

“Then don’t do it, Amelia,” I grumbled as I hit my cardboard bowl with my plastic spoon. Amelia arched her arms, and her bowl flew into the garbage can.

I was tired of explaining to the church kids on why Amelia wasn’t at church. I had an assortment of excuses. There were a few younger girls at church that pretended they didn’t admire her. But they sat behind her pew each Sunday and played with her hair. Now, I had to tell these girls that Amelia and I broke up. I wasn’t excited about “taking a break” when she suggested it at our last meet up. But I hoped the distance would make her rethink things. Maybe even decide to marry me.

“I’m sorry. I told you that I didn’t want you to deal with my stuff. Daddy is driving me up the wall right now. He’s chasing Mama all over the city. He just needs to stop, “Amelia exclaimed.

“He still loves her. That’s why he’s chasing,” I tossed my cup into the trash.

“Well..that’s love. Uck..she’s a mess.”

I exhaled and squinted at Amelia. “I think you forget that’s your mom. That she’s struggling and needs your love. She needs you to pray for her.”

“I do pray for her. You don’t get it!”

“Okay, I don’t get it all. You got a point. But I do think I try my best to understand parts of the situation.”

Amelia glared at the red walls and the black and white checkered floors of the shop. She loved vintage designs and classic movies. Her favorite actor was Sidney Poitier, and she forced me to watch nearly all of his movies. She was so bewildered when I confessed that I hadn’t seen his Oscar winning performance in “Lillies of the Field.”

“Yeah, you do try. You’re much better than other people,” Amelia answered. Her eyes scattered from the hipster male cashier to the group of students we’d seen earlier.

“Well..I had to try. It was important,” I answered.

Amelia rubbed her eyes. “I’m not going to be able to come here anymore.”


“Didn’t mean to say that!” Amelia looked away from the shop and then looked at me. “Umph..I can’t come back here. It won’t be anything. Won’t be good anymore. Just the place where we broke up.”

“Or the place you broke up with me. I mean, I didn’t want to break up. But I agreed. You wanted this,” I exclaimed.

“Simon, you don’t have to get all loud about it. We had to break up. Nothing else that could be done. Really!” Amelia flared her arms.

I moved to the edge of the sidewalk. I wanted to go away. My old Honda was across the street. But I also wanted to grab Amelia’s hands and pray. I didn’t know what prayer request was the most important: her parents, us, or the girls at our church who’d miss her presence. I could see the girls saying something flippant when they heard about Amelia’s departure. They would say something like “She wasn’t all that anyways.”

Amelia’s arm wrapped around my own. Her face was forlorn. I pulled away and sat down on the sidewalk. I scratched my full beard. The older church members barked that it was “out of control.” They preferred “the other thing.” My goatee.

Amelia’s eyes scattered again. From the people bustling out of the shop to others who walked down the street, she watched them.

“I’m goin’ to leave, Simon, “Amelia spoke in the other direction, as though one of the pedestrians were involved in this conversation instead.

“Okay..take care!” I huffed.

Amelia wiggled her foot around her blue TOMS shoe. Her light, flowy dress stopped at her knees. I arose and patted Amelia’s back. Then, I embraced her.

“I’m sorry again. Please keep up the preaching. You’re a great preacher. I liked hearing you,” Amelia quickly released her arms from me.












They Preached With Fire: A Flash Fiction Story

(Hey y’all! I am experimenting with different kinds of short stories, and I decided to write a flash fiction story. Usually, a flash fiction story is considered to be anything under 1,000 words.  And please listen to the music video after you have read the story. Thanks!)

Flash Fiction

On the second Sunday of the month, Simon preached. He married real talk with humor in his sermons. He was relatable to the young people without being too corny yet he appealed to the older folks with his Old Testament teachings. Simon preached how Daddy used to preach.

Daddy told jokes and left the pulpit so he could see the laughter. The congregation exploded at his jokes like they had watched a scene in an Eddie Murphy movie. Once, the laughter softened and left the sanctuary, Daddy asked the congregation to stand up and open their Bibles. Daddy used to preach so hard that a church nurse would have to wipe his glistening forehead.

Simon was like my Daddy. When the sweat dripped into Simon’s mouth and down into his neck, he wiped his face. The older folks said, “Lord, this boy can preach.” When I heard their words, I tried not to smile. I bit my lips, but they curved. “Miss, your boo is preaching,” the teenagers pointed at me.

As Pentecostal as I was, I liked to be at the church when it was empty. I took my mismatched socks and black Chuck Taylors off. Simon walked to me and softly tugged my nose.

“You’re always trying to hide that smile, pretty lady!”

“I’m not smiling.” I placed my hand on my mouth and watched Simon rub his goatee. I loathed this addition to his face before, but I realized that it made him extra handsome. Simon’s almond shaped eyes focused on my bare feet and then my afro. My lion’s mane was getting larger, and I needed to find a patient hairdresser to explore my dense, black curls.

Simon held the ring in front of me, and I looked at it again. I forced myself to examine the simple, golden band. The ring was as simple as my jeans and sneakers

“I’m still thinking, Simon.”

“Thinking? Have you prayed about it?” Simon squinted at me.

“Yeah, I’ve prayed and I don’t have an answer.”

“I’m just confused, Amelia. I thought you wanted to get married. You talked about how you wanted your dad to marry us. You wanted to walk down the aisle with no shoes.”

For two weeks, I ignored Simon’s texts and phone calls. Simon’s handwritten note in my mailbox made me meet with him. Simon’s persistence reminded me of Daddy. Before the divorce, Daddy bribed Mama with fish and chip dinners, so she would take her medicine. He read Bible verses to her during her times in the hospital. Daddy constantly called my Mama’s family to figure out where she was.

Daddy never wanted to divorce Mama, but the church leaders were concerned when his sermons became choppy. His light jokes transformed into snide remarks.

“Simon, you should leave me alone. Find someone who doesn’t have a crazy mama,” I walked over to the pulpit. My back was turned to Simon, but his dress shoes banged towards me. Simon pulled a strand of my hair and stared at me.

“You’d want your mom to be at the wedding too. It makes sense. She’s not crazy though. Just going through some stuff now.”

I swatted Simon’s hand. “She’s schizophrenic. You wanna marry the daughter of a schizophrenic?’

“Yeah, I wanna marry you. But don’t talk about your mom like that. I don’t think she wants to deal with all of the confusion in her head. I wouldn’t want to,” Simon shook his head.

“I know she doesn’t want to deal with it. We don’t want to deal with it either. Don’t take this mess on! It’s too stinking much,” I huffed.

“Amelia, its fine. I’ll take it on. I believe that God heals and restores. I pray for you and your family. All the time.”

“Goodness. You’re such a preacher, Simon.”

“Hope so. I’m spending a lot of money on seminary,” Simon laughed. He pulled my face towards him and kissed my cheek. Daddy used to kiss Mama when she carried on. Daddy sung to her, off key. His ragged notes covered the tears he would not allow to pour out.

Simon was a singing preacher. I joked with Simon, because he and Daddy didn’t have a lot of differences except the singing. The older folks at our church talked about Simon’s anointing. His voice directed the congregation to praise God. Our own raw voices and our spinning bodies moved into the aisles. After such services, both the teenagers and older folks saluted Simon or shook his dark, brown hand. But Simon pointed at the ceiling and stated, “It’s God.”

I didn’t want Simon to have to leave the ministry. When Daddy told me that the church leaders asked him to stop preaching, he didn’t cry or yell. He guzzled creamy coffee in the kitchen of the house that I was raised in. Then, he dipped a ginger snap in his cup and asked me if he should get something for Mama for her birthday.

Simon kissed my cheek again, and I twitched. Simon frowned, and he dropped his hands into the pockets of his wine colored slacks.





6 o’clock Movements: A Short Story, Part 4

Part 4 Blog Series

Benjamin stopped focusing on the cows. “Asha, why are you talking like that?”

“I don’t know. Sometimes, I just don’t know how to help you. I just pray, you know?”

“Yeah…thank you for praying. I’ve been pretty nasty lately.”

“Depressed…it’s not you though. And I just get angry at you because I’m like ‘why is this man acting like this.’ But I think that’s why it’s good you can talk to Jere. I only understand some of it. But you and Jere can have your guy heart-to-hearts.”

Benjamin snorted. “Not heart-to-hearts. We talk about stuff. We do pray for each other. It’s good.”

“Good. You know Ephesians 6:12, right?”

“Okay with the random questions.”

“Ben..listen,man! What’s Ephesians 6:12?”

Benjamin huffed. “Uh…it’s for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and some other stuff.”

Ben..not just some other stuff.  It’s umm..and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. It’s a good verse, you know? All of this stuff…the unemployment…our fights…it’s more. It’s the enemy trying to stop the good stuff.”

“Yeah,” Benjamin pondered the verse and tugged at his ears. He felt like he had been such a “bad” Christian in the last year and a half. The layoff contributed to his sad and angry moods. He constantly bickered with Asha. Sometimes, he ignored the children.  He attended church services with his family, but he half heard the sermons.

“Um…Daddy should be home in a little while! Okay, baby?” Benjamin heard Asha tell one of the children.

“Who’s that Asha?” Benjamin asked.

“Your baby girl. Aima.”

Aima, with her two afro puffs, tottered around the house and usually destroyed the Leggo buildings or crafts that Gabriel and Julian created. She was a miniature version of Asha, as she was spunky and gregarious.

“Asha, I’m just so tired of this. I feel like I’m carrying all of this mess all over the place. It’s exhausting,” Benjamin grumbled.

“Yes…yes..Daddy’s coming home soon,” Asha spoke to Aima again. “I’m sorry, Benjamin. Aima wants to talk real quick.”

“Hi Dad-dy!” Aima greeted in her squeaky voice.

“Hi baby! What are you doing?’ Benjamin asked.

“Playing. I made you a hat.”

“Oh really?! How did you make me a hat?”

“With my Playdo, Dad-dy!.”

“ Aww..thank you. I can’t wait to see it. Can I speak to Mommy?”


“Say bye to Daddy!” Asha told Aima.

“Bye Dad-dy!” Aima exclaimed.

“Bye baby! I love you.”

“I love you too!’ Aima giggled and returned the phone to her mother.

When Asha was pregnant with Aima, Jeremiah told Benjamin, “That baby girl is gonna have you whipped around your finger. You know how girls are with their fathers.” Even though Jeremiah did not have any children of his own, he had shared some wisdom with Benjamin.Jeremiah was a few years older than Benjamin and had been serving God longer, so Benjamin appreciated their brotherhood.

“I’m sorry about that, Ben. Aima really wanted to talk, “Asha stated.

“It’s okay. Had to talk to my little lady anyways. Um..I was just saying before that I’m pretty exhausted and tired of carrying this mess. I feel like I’m carrying all of this stuff,” Benjamin replied.

“Yes, I know baby. We are all tired and going through this together. But we can pray to God to help us. He can carry this stuff, you know?”

“Um..I have trouble believing that sometimes. My faith is low,” Benjamin coughed.

“Yeah. it’s hard. I know you get worried about how long we can last with just my income. I get worried too. But I think we can both be honest with God and tell Him that we are having trouble with our level of faith. Let Him know how hard this marriage thing is. Just tell Him everything, you know? We can even look into counseling or something. For you and for us.”

“Yeah. That’s fine.”

“I’m gonna text Jere and ask him to come get you Hmm…maybe he should bring  your other buddy Malakai with him. I think  you can ride with one of them while the other drives your car back. It’s just getting so late.”

“Okay Asha. Thanks”

“I’ll try to stay on the phone with you a little while longer. Might be multitasking with the kids, you know? Just think you should have some company.”

Benjamin patted his stomach. He opened the glove compartment and rifled through a clump of receipts and a cookie wrapper. Under his car’s registration, there were smashed vanilla sugar wafers in a Ziplock bag. As he scarfed down the wafer bits, he heard Asha repeatedly tell one of the children,”Thank you.”

Benjamin grabbed the bottle of Ibuprofen and tossed it into the compartment.

(*Note: That’s the end, y’all! What do y’all think about Benjamin’s situation? Have you ever experienced times where you felt very discouraged and were uplifted by God? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading my story! 🙂 Blessings, afrotasticlady)

6 o’clock Movements: A Short Story, Part 3

Part 3 Blog Series

(*Note: Parts 1 & 2 are up if you haven’t been able to read them! Part 4, the last part of the story is coming soon. Keep your eyes open for it! )

“I know…I know…” Benjamin replied.

“Baby, where are you?” Asha questioned.

“I don’t know, Asha. What did you cook?”

“What?! Are you for real? Are you really asking me ‘what did I cook?’ I spent half my day crying about you. The kids looking at me like something just went loose in my head.”

“Okay Asha…okay…I’m stupid. Shouldn’t have asked you that.”

“Stop that. You’re not stupid. You avoid things. That’s what you do. “

“I didn’t need to call you. I’m not looking for a lecture.”

“I’m not trying to lecture you. I’m mad. I was worried that you were hurt. Thought about calling the police.”

“I’m fine. No need to call the police.”

“Are you coming home? Or did you decide to leave us?” Asha’s voice quivered.

“No. I don’t wanna leave girl,” Benjamin replied.


Benjamin scratched the steering wheel. “Asha, I thought about leaving. Thought about hurting myself.”

“What?” Asha yelled.

“Asha, I didn’t though. I just feel so useless since I got laid off. And it shouldn’t be this hard to find a job. I don’t wanna do all of these stupid odd jobs. I don’t want you to work overnights so we can survive. So, I thought maybe I should just leave the house. And just be done.”

“Done? What?”

“Asha, I wouldn’t really do it. I’m too chicken, and I heard your voicemails. I heard Gabe talking about his Leggos. I thought about Aima bullying her big brothers around.”

“She’s just assertive like her mama,” Asha giggled, and then she began to weep.

“Asha…don’t…it’s okay.”

“Ben, you’re depressed and talking about suicide. That scares me. I know you feel useless. Like you’re not a good father or husband. But I know you’re trying to find something. I was angry when I said ‘you’re not even looking.’ I know you’re looking. I just think we’ve both gotten annoyed about the searching and the waiting. You know what I mean?! ”


“You keep saying ‘yeah’ to everything. I don’t know what you want me to say,” Asha yelped.

“Asha, please! I’m not gonna hurt myself. I can’t. Especially with God talking to me.”

“Hurt yourself? You wanted to take your life! You’re just using cute little words now. But you wanted to rip yourself away,” Asha sounded as high pitched as Aima’s voice.

“Asha, I’m not going to rip myself away. I’m not going to do anything to myself.”

“Okay…cause I’d probably be a hot mess if you did. You know?” Asha’s voice lowered.

“Yeah,” Benjamin quickly responded. “Yeah, Asha.”

“Okay, alright. Did Jere end up calling you? Cause I told him to call you?” Asha’s screeched.

Benjamin removed the phone from his ear and exhaled. Goodness Asha, he thought.

Benjamin returned the phone to his ear. “Yeah, yeah, I got his message. Your brother is ‘good peoples.’ He told me I could call him if I needed to talk.” Benjamin observed cows snipping at the tall grass at a nearby farm.

“Good peoples. Y’all are too cute. I’m glad that you can talk to him about stuff.”

“Yeah,” Benjamin continued to watch the spotted animals. He needed to take the children to a farm. With all of the stress surrounding his unemployment, he was distracted whenever he took the children to an outside activity.

“Benjamin, maybe Jere should come out to where you are at? He can come pick you?”

“Nah, I’m good. I’ll be there in a little bit.”

“Stop being so stubborn and let Jere come out there. He can support you, pray with you. I don’t even know if you want me to pray with you.”


6 o’clock Movements: A Short Story, Part 2

           Part 2 Blog Series

Four missed calls. Four voicemails. Asha had called three times. Asha’s brother Jeremiah had called once.

Benjamin was glad that he liked his brother-in-law. When Benjamin first met Jeremiah, Jeremiah was quiet and frowned at him like he was an expired piece of food. A month later, Jeremiah informed Benjamin that Asha had a challenging break-up and he did not want to see Asha endure sorrow with another man. Jeremiah described Benjamin as “good peoples” when he discovered that Benjamin had prayed about Asha before he asked to make their relationship serious.

“Let me see what these people want,” Benjamin dialed his voicemail.

Ben. Benjamin, where are you? You’ve been gone for a while, and the kids are asking about you. You just walked out of the house. Like you didn’t care or something. I know you’re tired. You’re angry. I guess you’re angry at God. I don’t know. God’s done a lot for us. He’s been helping us but I don’t think you see that. I don’t know Ben. Just bring yourself home,” Asha pleaded on the voice message.

 “Hey man, it’s Jer. Asha’s worried about you. She called me, crying. Said you ran out of the house after a fight. You know you can talk to me, man. It’s irritating, I get it. But you can’t be acting how you acting right now. Alright…call me when you get this message,” Jeremiah said on his voice message.

 “Daddy. Daddy. I wanna play Leggos with you. Julian made you a house. A big house. We want you to seeee it,” Gabriel, his five year old son whined.

By the fourth message, Benjamin had closed his eyes.

Benjamin, did you get my last message? I called you. Did you forget that you have kids? They are over here. They asking me “Where’s Daddy?” I don’t know where Daddy is. I don’t know why you won’t call me back. I don’t know why you ran outta the person like some crazy person. You’ve been gone since 9 this morning. Ben… God’s got us. He’s been got us,”  Asha’s voice sounded softer, and she was sniffling.

“Baby… you’ll get a job. I know it’s been a while. But you will get a job. A real job. I love you. Call me back, please!Asha finished.

Asha. His brown woman. His wife who wore a pink,pixie hair cut. Benjamin was raised on Southern Gospel music like The Blind Boys of Alabama but when he met Asha, he learned to like her Christian metal music. He did not even know that brown folks liked metal music.

He remembered when Asha wagged her finger and said,“You know what? Black people need to step out of their comfort zones and listen to some other stuff. I like Gospel like you, but I also like metal. I’m still Black, boo.”

Benjamin laughed at the recollection. Then, he looked at his phone. The screen displayed that it was six o’ clock.

“I’m hungry, “Benjamin placed his hand on his stomach. His stomach was plumper than before. Benjamin usually heard the cliche comment “You look like a basketball player” when people looked at his tall and muscular body. With his ravenous eating and lack of exercising, his muscles were transforming into mashed potatoes.

Benjamin realized that Asha served dinner around this time. He enjoyed eating her home cooked meals, especially her vegetable lasagna.

Call your wife, Benjamin heard. Benjamin realized that the enemy was not speaking to him. God was speaking. He did not want to hear God.

“No!” Benjamin pounded the steering wheel. “I’m done, Lord! Like what am I supposed to do? Survive on unemployment and church donations forever. I got a family to support,” he shouted. He picked up the bottle of Vodka and sniffed it.

“I can’t even drink this junk anymore. Too strong,” Benjamin laid the bottle on the passenger seat floor. Benjamin looked at his phone again and selected Asha’s name in the contact list.

“Benjamin. I called you. Like twice,” Asha picked up on the first ring.

(Note: Please stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4. Thank you so much for reading lovely people!:) )



6 o’clock Movements: A Short Story, Part 1

(Note: Hey, hey! I wanted to share a short story that I begun to write several years ago but did not complete. I finally completed it! This short story will be presented in four parts on my blog, and each part will be followed by an inspirational song that I enjoy hearing. I pray that you receive a positive message from the story! Blessings, afrotasticlady)

                           Short Story Blog Series

A bottle of Vodka and a bottle of Ibuprofen were sprawled on the passenger seat of his car. Vodka was a strange beverage for him to be drinking. In college, he had attempted to drink a cup of Vodka at a fraternity party, but the alcohol scraped his throat. He could not continue drinking, and the fraternity guys laughed at his innocence.

Now, Benjamin shoved the Vodka bottle into his mouth. He swallowed the raw liquid and let out a gruff “aaah.” He turned his head to his driver’s window and observed the people entering and exiting the Western Massachusetts Rite Aid.

A young woman yanked her two year old daughter out of the sliding doors. Her red hair was in a loose bun. She wore yoga pants with a large hole in the right knee area. Her slender child moved in the opposite direction. She screamed “C’mon kid!” and tears exploded on the child’s cheeks.

Some of the customers scowled at the adult and child as they interacted with each other, but none of them interrupted the battle. Benjamin quickly rolled down his car window and heard the expletives that flowed out of the mother’s mouth. He knew he should intervene, but his stiff body would not respond to his compassion.

The mother dropped her bags and pulled the terrified child towards her face. A middle aged woman with wavy, grey hair wrapped in a bun, slowly pushed her shopping cart towards the entrance. Again, the child tried to remove herself from her mother’s thin arms. Despite the mother’s skinniness, she appeared to be a strong woman. The mother let out a final swear to her daughter and spat on her face.

Benjamin shook his head and stared at the adorable child in denim overalls. “Mum-my…I hurt,” the child wailed. The middle aged woman  left her cart and ran over to the woman and her daughter.

“You don’t spit on a child like that. Is that your daughter?” the middle aged woman asked.

“Yeah, it is my daughter and this ain’t none of your business,” the mother responded.

“Honey, are you alright?” the middle aged woman bent down to the child’s level.

“Get away from her, nosey!” the mother slid her body between the middle aged woman and the child.

“You don’t need to be a mother! What’s wrong with you?” the middle aged woman yelled.

“Lady, I don’t even know you, and you think you can tell me something!” the mother yelled back.

Benjamin rubbed the sides of his face, and then grasped one of the dark coils of his small Afro. He did not want to listen to this confrontation anymore. His mind was already confused. He brought the bottle of alcohol to his mouth and drank it the same way his own kids drank their juice boxes. They titled their little heads and gulped until it went down the wrong way. They never heeded Benjamin’s instructions to “slow down.” They dealt with the effects of their quick drinking: strained coughing.

Benjamin ripped the Vodka bottle from his mouth and hacked. He was removing himself from his empathy. The middle aged woman could solve the situation between the mother and her child. He turned on the engine and peeled away from the parking lot.

“Where am I going?” Benjamin questioned himself.

This country town was different from his home. Down the street from the Rite Aid, there was a Moms and Pops store and an old fashioned movie theater with only two titles on the placard. As he drove out of the downtown area, vast farms approached him. His two year old daughter Aima, would have danced as soon as she saw the animals. She recognized animals well and amused the family with her imitations of cows, horses, and pigs. Benjamin smiled and thought about Aima’s high pitched voice making a “moo” sound. Benjamin stopped smiling and grimaced when an agitated driver rushed past him.

“Dang man, where you going?” Benjamin shouted and waved his fist. Drowsy, Benjamin pulled over to the side of the road. His head dropped on the steering wheel,and he began to moan. Full moans. Moans that would have frightened his children if they were in the back seat. Benjamin blinked, and tears trailed down his cheeks. He turned his head towards the bottle of Ibuprofen.

That bottle looked more glorious to him than his Bible looked.

Take them, he heard in his mind. He grabbed the bottle and massaged it in his hands. He slouched down in his seat and spun the bottle. Benjamin sighed and dropped the bottle back on the passenger seat. He took his phone out of his pocket.