Francine sat outside the entire night.  Unpleasant as the cool darkness was, she never moved.  Finally, her owner strolled her way as the sun peeked over the horizon.  He opened one of her arms and let himself in.  A small metal shaft penetrated her then rolled toward the right.  She didn’t awaken today like she usually would.  She didn’t squeal or produce any noise, but sat motionless.  Her owner began to sweat.

Tiny beads of liquid began to hatch on his dark forehead.  He spit out wicked words of distress and pounded Francine’s dashboard.  He could learn a thing or two from the coolness of the night.  He shed the forest green jacket from his shoulders and tossed it into the backseat.  A dislodged device caused Francine to burp open her hood.  Greg’s body hurled from the leather seat and out of the open door.  His arm divided the hood open like opening the mouth of a tranquilized crocodile.  He dove his head beneath it and gazed into the exposed mouth.

Greg’s car ignorance was fairly high.  Standing in the morning’s spotlight he felt ashamed and unmanly.  He searched his pocket and unearthed a flip cell phone that was no longer manufactured by the phone company.  No one envied this phone.  Greg didn’t see the point of “upgrading” to a new one.  His philosophy was that games, apps, and internet access would only succeed in distracting him from the enjoyment of everyday life.  He wasn’t some sap who thought everyday was delightful, he just thought it was better to practice looking up or straight forward than down at a device in one’s lap.  He didn’t think it was right that a person should feel like a nuisance to someone else sitting or standing idly with no other company around.

“Hello,” said the worn voice of Dell, the first person Greg decided to call.  “Yeah Dell, it’s Greg, my car won’t start man.  I don’t know what’s-”  “Hey man,” Dell said cutting him off mid-sentence, “call me back if you can’t get any help.  I’m sleeping.”  Greg clapped the phone shut without knowing who actually hung up first.

“Charles, my car won’t start,” he began on his third (and second successful) phone call.  “Huh?” said Greg’s friend, “You mean Francine?  But she’s a good car.”  “Yeah man.”  “You need help,” Charles continued, “Are you home?  At work?”  “Yeah I’m at home,” said Greg.  “Ok, I can be there in thirty minutes,” replied his handy pal, “hang on buddy!”

Greg thought wiser than to call his father.  He would only help when the timing was good for him.  That roller coaster was one Greg didn’t have the patience to ride today.  He climbed back inside Francine’s belly and used her insulation to warm up and relax.

There was one more phone call to make. “Tim Arnold speaking.”  “Boss,” Greg replied, “I’m having car trouble.  If I can just get her started I’ll be late, but I’m worried I may not be able to make it in.  It just depends on-.”  Tim began, “Now Greg, you know this, you’re a two..almost three year veteran at the company.  You’ve got to put in two weeks in advance to have days off.  I won’t penalize you any, just find a way to get here.”  Tim hung up first without awaiting a reply.  Greg had nothing to say anyhow.  This two week policy was only a few weeks old.  He turned to the left, lunged his head through the open door, and spit onto the curb in disgust.


Charlie parked his truck next to Greg’s red Taurus.  He hopped out and walked the few steps around his truck and over to his friend’s.  “Greg.  Greg.!  Greg!!”  He looked at the man who lay dormant in front of him.  The man was using the steering wheel as a pillow and dripping a slow drool from the left side of his lips.  He pulled back then slammed the door shut caging Greg inside.  The blast of noise startled Greg who instinctively honked the horn as his eyes paraded the area around him.

The men proceeded to clip jumper cables onto each car battery.  Sparks fireworked before Greg’s glowing face as he attached a cable onto the wrong host.  After jolting his arm back he exhaled deeply and attached each onto its correct partner.  He sat back in the pilot seat and navigated the car key to the right.  Francine belched to life.  “Now let’s go get you a battery and be done with this mess,” said Charlie triumphantly.

–          Eric McCarty (3/14/2012)

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