Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
WongTheConqueror
Private E-1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:52 pm

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby WongTheConqueror » Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:02 pm

After months of soul-numbing labor, I had finally reached the Holy Grail of banality: last week, my gmail account received 5,000 unique pieces of spam, all of which bypassed the filter. Should the FBI happen to investigate my online persona, they will find only a man interested in low-interest rate home loans to ameliorate his credit card debt acquired by purchasing any and all products related to penis size, day trading, African ex-strongmen and Microsoft. What they're really after isn't actually there, but it's Christmas after all, and if I can help keep government agents in gainful employment and off the streets, I'm more than happy to do so.

To celebrate my remarkable achievement, I flew out to Las Vegas, rented a Civic, removed the GPS tracking unit within, and headed for Mexico. I rolled down the window and set the A/C to fudge you, Sierra Club. If I want to give your children four fingers and autism, I damn well will--enjoying the desolate landscape immensely. It has always helped me focus my thoughts on vengeance. Then the POS rice burner started bitching as if it too had a right to righteous fury. fudge. I pulled over and checked the tires, but nothing was wrong. Except for the thumping.

They came from the trunk and were now loud enough to rattle the entire car. Preparing for anything, I keyed an anarchy symbol into the car's paint for good luck before briefly reflecting on the Civic's shoddy design. Why the hell would anyone place the tire iron, needed to beat the crap out of people hiding in the trunk, in the trunk? I flung it open.

Sudden stillness reverberated through the desert. The trunk was empty.

Swearing, I slammed it shut. Seconds later the thumping resumed, but instead of losing my cool, I listened. My blood ran cold. Not only was the thumping Morse Code, it was highly encrypted Morse Code. I couldn't immediately translate, but it didn't matter. This was how that psychotic, blue gummy bear calling itself Stretchable Death announced its impending arrival to those of us it wasn't currently trying to kill.

Life was about to get very interesting, Chinese curse style, very soon. I only hoped I could find enough stockings to stuff the body parts in.

tammytull
Private E-1
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:32 pm

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby tammytull » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:36 pm

In late months I’ve been ugly. I’ve locked-up, slipped off the deep end, even neglected loved ones and come close to financial ruin. The day-to-day me is outwardly well groomed, still smiling, and energetic.

The Champagne colored rental car I’m in right now is a staple for rental car companies, despite how long between baths, they still look moderately clean. The car and I began beating along Highway 9 shortly after my junker was dropped off at the body shop for repair. The previous week meet me with 3 fender benders, one of which might have had too much damage to classify as a “fender bender”. It is more like, I ran a red-light and slammed into your ass at 15 mph, surprised my airbag didn’t deploy, type “fender bender”. I’m still filing extensions to avoid paying my failure to yield ticket. The other fender bender, I paid out of pocket while the third was more of dent-and-run ordeal at 7:30am on deserted streets.

I’m stressed, my job is weighing on me, and who ever picks sales in a faltering market as a career path is an idiot….including me.

Now, however, I’m out, I’m going to the state park today, I’m going to look over the city and let the breeze take my numbness away. Going up seems to be the thing to do when stress drills down. So, me and the Champagne-colored car are headed up 3,000 feet to chill for the day. Although I left my house thinking I’m staying for only a few hours, I packed my tent anyway. Who knows, maybe I’ll stay all-night I told myself. Some good mountain air might clear my head, lend a reflection worth writing about, or perhaps have an erotic fantasy.

Shortly before I reached the top, the car was dragging and began pulling left as the tire thudded. Holy F&*king poop unicorns and rainbows are you serious, that isn’t a flat is it? I pulled to the dirt and got out of my car with a dangerous stress level. The tire wasn’t flat, the back left was fine, what the hell? I began driving again “ thud thud, boom”. Again, I got out, nothing there. The car was ok, I was ok, I suppose. As I continued up the mountain, the sound seemed to progress into the boot-end. “Bang, boom”. What good was it going to do me to check it again, I’m not a mechanic and after all I don’t care because this car is headed back to Enterprise tomorrow.

I continued up the mountain ignoring the car. I didn’t want to know what was wrong with the car; after all it looked on the surface like it was in good repair. I kept driving myself and that champagne car: we kept going up together. The malfunctions and dirt on it made me feel like I was with an empathetic friend.

ktdbeck
Private E-1
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:52 pm

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby ktdbeck » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:09 pm

“Oh, great! That’s all I need – a flat tire.” I yanked the steering wheel to the right, navigated my rented Buick LeSabre off the road, and reached for my cell to call AAA. As I scrambled through my purse for the phone, I realized the flat tire had not stopped thumping, even though the vehicle was no longer moving.

I abandoned my search and turned off the engine; the banging continued.

Gritting my teeth, I wrenched the key from the ignition, opened the door, and crawled out of the car. From outside the car, the muffled thuds drew me to the trunk. Stomping to the back of the car, I pressed the remote. As the latch released and the lid inched up, the knocking grew louder.

With the trunk completely open, the light revealed a Tonka Bulldozer, crashing into the side with such force that the dozer was flung back, only to lunge against the trunk again. Through eyes filled with tears, I grabbed the toy, found the switch, and shut it off. Clutching the still warm remembrance of my little darling, I collapsed in the grass beside the road and wept.

Joan must have sneaked Paul’s toy into the trunk, while I gathered the last of my luggage,. I had told her she should keep all of his things. I had no use for them any longer. Three weeks before, Paul had been on United Airlines Flight 175 on his way back from visiting my ex-husband Gary in Boston. The date was Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

My sobs subsided. I vowed to rid myself of this relentless reminder. I lowered the bulldozer to the ground, switched it on, and pointed it away from the road.

As it lumbered away, I could not stop an unexpected smile. An image of Paul overwhelmed me: the too big, banana-yellow, hard hat flopped over his ears; the tip of his tongue peaking out as he concentrated on leveling his dirt pile; his squeal of delight when the toy tipped over; his look of pride and “See what I did, Mom” when he finished his road.

The further from the edge of the highway, the more the sound of the Tonka’s motor faded. The further away it advanced, the more I wanted to chase after it. It was like losing Paul again.

How I longed for one more hug, one more kiss, one more chance to say ‘I love you.’ I knew that could not happen, but that special reminder was still within reach. I pursued the escaping bulldozer, switched it off, and hugged it to me as I returned to the car.

The bulldozer rests next to my favorite picture of my wonderful son – a tribute to him and his memory.

* The persons mentioned in this story are fictional, but innocent children were among the victims of September 11, 2001. Never forget.

EvieMay
Sergeant
 
Posts: 241
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:44 pm

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby EvieMay » Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:12 am

Chrystal Manning wound her way through the deserted streets, as the DJ’s soothing voice, Dr. Somebody, tried to help a caller deal with parental loss.

Whump, whump, whump…

“Un-freaking believable!” Chrystal’s jaw clenched as she glanced in the rearview mirror. Damn A.J to Hell! He knows the nightshift creeps me out, but does he rent me a good car? No! He sticks me with this old clunker with bad tires. If he’d pay child support, I wouldn’t have to stock shelves at Wal Mart until 2 a.m. I’ll call A.J. and demand a better rental. He’ll argue for a while, make me grovel, but he’ll cave eventually. After all, I have to transport his children in this jalopy! Just because his new wife bought him a BMW…

Whump, whump, whump…

“Okay, okay, Damn!” Chrystal eased to the curb and killed the engine, interrupting Dr. ‘Nice Lady with the Perfect Life’ in mid-sentence. She sat, listening to the still night. The eerie scraping of metal against metal turned her blood to icy fire—the burning dread flooding her veins. She wrenched open the door with a rusty squeal drawing an answering shriek from the trunk. Groping behind the driver’s seat, Chrystal’s fingers found the cold edge of the tire iron she’d placed there. She dragged the heavy weapon to her chest and clamored out into the street.

She circled the rust-bucket, searching for a flat tire, but saw nothing amiss.

THUD… thunk… THUD…

Chrystal inched slowly to the rear, staring at the closed trunk.

“Who’s there? Did A.J. put you up to this?” She called, her brave voice wavering into a whimper. She stepped closer, reaching out with the tire iron, and rapped the trunk three times, jumping back with a gasp as the latch gave way with a loud pop.

The old trunk lid raised slowly, a yawning mouth without teeth; the interior beckoned. Whispers encircled her consciousness like buzzards over dinner, drawing ever closer.

“Who are you?” Chrystal rasped as she staggered forward, peering into the thick darkness within. Shadows moved, undulating in a maniacal dance, mesmerizing her. She never heard the loud clang as the tire iron slipped from numb fingers and collided with the pavement.

“I am your darkangel,” the aged, cracked voice drifted out of the nothingness, curling around her body, edging her closer. “Come to me!”

“Noooo,” Chrystal intoned, even as she leaned over the gaping yaw, trying to cut the darkness with her eyes. “What do you want?” She gasped, her breath ragged on the frigid air.

“YOU!”

The trunk lid crashed down, knocking her bent form into the thick fog; the latch snicked closed. The old car gave a final belch as it gulped once, swallowing Chrystal whole.

The street settled as time shifted and returned to normal. The keys, still dangling in the ignition, turned once. The slightly maternal voice of the good DJ, Dr. Perfect, drifted out of the radio, warning female listeners of the dangers of traveling alone at night.

debo
Private E-2
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 7:28 pm

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby debo » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:01 am

Great. Just great.
It wasn’t enough that I overslept.
It wasn’t enough that the car wouldn’t start.
It wasn’t enough that my phone is dead and I left the charger in my car when I ran for this rental job.
It wasn’t enough that my “short cut” around the backup turned out not so short.
Now I’ve got a flat. I must have picked up something on that rough stretch. I guess I should be grateful I’ve still got wheels for tires to go flat on. That last bump was a doozy.
With today’s luck, I probably don’t have a jack. Or they tightened the lug-nuts with hydraulics. Or . . .
Well, that’s odd. Doesn’t look flat. Maybe the other side?
Strange.
But I know I heard . . . All the tires look fine. The sky doesn’t look so fine, but the tires: nothing wrong. So what—
FFF-PMP. FFF-PMP. FFF-PMP.
What is that? Something under the car?
FFF-PMP. FFF-PMP.
No, it’s coming from the trunk. Right. Maybe the spare is flat. Ha, ha.
Okay, how do you get this open? There’s got to be a button somewhere. Ah!
What in the world?

I’m looking at . . . a . . . bomb? I’m carrying a bomb? My car’s about to blow up!
Calm down. Breathe. Slowly, girl. Slowly. That’s right. Breathe. Back away slowly. Slowly.
I’ve got to get out of here. Those wires. Those bottles. Did I break something on that bump? Knock something over? I don’t like the way that blue thing’s rising and falling. Maybe it’s just air escaping. Or gas. Gas!
Oh man, I’m a terrorist victim.
Oh no. They’ll think I’m the terrorist.
Just leave it here. Leave it here and walk away.
What if it blows up here?
Come on. Come on. What’s it matter? What damage can it do? Kill a couple of squirrels?
Just walk, girl. That’s right. Walk. Stay calm. Keep walking. Find a friendly farmhouse and— And what? Convince a stranger there’s a bomb in my car?
Just ask to use the phone. Say you had car trouble and ask to use the phone.
And call who? And say what? Who’s gonna believe this?
I wonder if I’m far enough yet. How far will pieces fly?
Oh. I left my purse. All my credit cards, all my ID. I don’t have any money.
They’ll find everything and link this to me.
Now what? Do I go back? But what if—
I wish I’d see some other cars out here. Some sign of a house or something. Brrr. Getting cold. Nothing but dead fields and a few trees. What do I do?
I’ve got to go back.
This isn’t happening. This isn’t real. This is a dream, and soon I’ll wake up. I’m hallucinating. Something I ate.
Okay. Just get that bag. Move fast. Move fast. Come on, feet. Move!
I don’t know if this is safe or not. This is dumb. Neurotic terrorist dies returning for purse . . .

Eironia
Private E-1
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 4:40 pm

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby Eironia » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:15 pm

I've been enjoying reading all the versions of the mystery in the trunk, but I have to say kudos to Debo, for the most fun. 
"I don’t know if this is safe or not. This is dumb. Neurotic terrorist dies returning for purse . . ."
That and the spare tire line still have me chuckling.
(Not the foggiest idea why I'm stuck in italics, but I'm tired of wrestling with the editor.  Hmph.)

meloncholy
Sergeant
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2005 11:37 am

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby meloncholy » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:02 pm

Once I had a few moments to myself, I turned the car off and rested my head on the back of my seat. What was I doing here? I wondered. Why did I bother to come all this way for the funeral of a man I hardly knew? My cell phone rang, jerking me out of deep thought. I saw it was my sister, Jani.

"Yeah?" I muttered.

"Where are you, Gina? Dad's funeral in only in a couple hours. We still have a lot to take care of." She cried frantically into the phone.

"Dont worry, I'm almost there. I just got the rental car. I'll be there in about 30 minutes." I said.

"Good. I'll see you then." Jani hung up without saying good bye and I could see her standing there with her lips pursed and her face turning red. She never did good when it to moments like these. I shrugged to myself. Then again, who did.

With a sigh, I turned on the car and pulled out onto the highway. The long stretch of road nearly buried with trees and shrub was almost soothing. I was tired from the whole trip and already knew I had an exhausting 3 days ahead of me. I pulled up at a stop sign and considered pulling over again, I was only about 10 minutes from Jani's house. I definatly needed to prepare myself.

As soon as I put the car in park I heard a strange thumping noise from behind me. I turned and searched the road. I didn't see anybody. But the thumping kept on. Irritated, I got out and saw the back end of my car moving up and down.

I sucked in a breath. What the hell is that, I thought. My brain was swarmed with morbid images of my father coming back from the dead to teach me a lesson. I could nearly picture him, flesh gray as ash and his eye sockets sunken in pointing a finger at me. "You know you can do better than that! Your just like your mother!"

My throat closed up and I choked out a nervous laugh. I was being ridiculas. This whole thing was ridiculas. I was probably imagining it all anyway, I thought. Though my hands shook when I pushed the key in and turned it. The trunk popped open slightly. I shrieked and jumped back.

In between the crack I could see two green eyes staring out at me. I brought my hand to my mouth and sucked in too much air. Suddenly, the trunk flew open and I could see what appeared to be a nearly lifeless woman. Her eyes searched mine for an explanation. I shook my head.

"Who are you? Who did this to you?" I cried, struggling to unknot the rope that bound her wrists. I pulled the saliva soaked rag from her mouth and froze when she smiled.

"You did." She gasped. "You did, why Gina? What did I do to you?"

"Jani!?" I screeched. "How could you.. I just talked to you. You were at your..."

Jani shook her head. "I dont know who you talked to but please let me out of here. Gina, please. I'm your sister." Jani began to shake.

Everything began to turn hazy. "But dad's funeral. We have to go to dad's funeral. We have to prepare. We have to..."

"Gina! Dad's funeral was last week. You have to let me go. You need help. Please Gina, before it's too late." Jani started sobbing. I stumbled backwards while Jani struggled to get out my trunk.

I looked at Jani again. Her body stiff and bruised from being in the same position for too long. I looked at the long hair that cascaded down her back, just like our mothers hair was. I reached in my back pocket and pulled something from it. I kept it there for moments like these. Jani's eye's widened. "Gina, no. Put the knife down, Gina. Come on, honey. Come on, listen to me." She yelled through her sobs.

"You always were dad's favorite. Momma's too." I said, smiling. Before I could feel the knife break into her chest something hard smacked into the back of my head. And everything went black.

"Poor little Gina." Jani said, dropping the rock. Jani curled up on the side of the road. "Poor little Gina."

jmar2
Major General
 
Posts: 3626
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:22 pm
Location: Marco Island, Florida

RE: Flat Tire 03/21-03/27

Postby jmar2 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:58 am

You little devil you.  Still think you can't write?  Well done.

John

Previous

Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests