And They Rode Off into the Sunset

Karen squeaked as her iPod slipped from her hands and fell into the black hole somewhere between the passenger seat and the door of their convertible. She fumbled with the aux cord a moment longer before tucking it under her leg while she fished beside the seat. 

Timothy opened his mouth to ask what on earth she was doing, but the question went completely out of his head when the right rear tire popped with a loud bang. The wheel jerked in his hands, and he cringed as he saw Karen’s head strike the door out of the corner of his eye. He quickly regained control of the car and slowed to a stop on the shoulder. 

She came up wincing and checked for blood with the palm of her hand before lightly probing her tender scalp with her fingertips. 

“Are you okay?” asked Timothy, concern evident in his tone. 

“I’m alright,” Karen answered, with one more quick check of her fingertips to make sure they were free of blood. “What happened?”

Timothy shook his head. “Blowout,” he answered. “I guess I must have run something over, but I didn’t see anything.” He shrugged. “I’m glad you’re okay, though.”

Karen opened her door just a hair and leaned over to pick up her iPod from the floor next to the seat. “At least you can have music while you change it,” she offered Timothy. She plugged it in and hit shuffle. 

Timothy made a resigned grumble in the back of his mouth and got out to assess the damage. Nothing was bent or broken, and he whistled along to David Guetta as he uneventfully changed the tire. In next to no time at all, he was back behind the wheel, and they were on the road again, driving through the desert on their way to adventure. 

When the sheriff passed by the spot a few minutes later, the only thing to mark their stop was a few footprints on the dust just off the shoulder. 

A third version of this and this


Busted Flat and a Bad Morning

Where is the strawberry jam? I pushed tupperware containers of unidentifiable leftovers left and right seeking the elusive jar. It couldn’t possibly be in here. I’d moved everything around at least six times.

The toast popped out of the toaster, waiting for the sweet red nectar that I couldn’t find.

Fine. I settled for blackberry preserves; not the same at all, but better than plain buttered toast. Plain buttered toast is unacceptable unless it’s fried. But I didn’t have the time for fried bread this morning.

I stared down at the mixture of half-melted butter and blackberry particles coating my toast. This is not what I wanted, not what I needed. I left it on the counter for the cat to knock down and the dog to clean up.

When I went into the bathroom to garb my lip gloss I knocked the glass of cotton swabs into the sink. Since it didn’t break, I left that, too.

On the tollway, I blindly searched through my purse with my right hand, desperately seeking change. I came up with an expired library card and seventeen cents. So much for the exact change lane. I sighed and made a mental note to renew my library card. Yet another in the long list of to-dos that may or may not ever be accomplished.

When I got to the toll booth, I handed the attendant my fiver, and he handed back his phone number, written on the back of a receipt for flowersUgh. I crumpled it up in disgust and threw it on my passenger floorboard. That man was the reason I hated not having change. It  was probably flowers he’d bought for his wife the last time she’d caught him passing his number out like candy at a carnival.

Half a mile on, I felt the tell-tale bumping and thumping of a flat tire. That just figures. I pulled over and walked around to check with my phone in my hand. What in the actual fuck? Is that? Really? One-half of a pair of scissors jutted from my right rear tire. I don’t know how it even stayed in there.

I texted my boss a selfie with it so she’d know why I was late. She’d understand. It was nice having a boss that cared about her employees.

At least, since I was so close to the toll booths, I didn’t have to wait long for Motorist Assistance to show. The truck pulled over smoothly behind me, and the lankiest man I have ever seen got out, chewing on at least half of a waffle, the other half of which drooped sadly from his left hand. He shoved the rest of it into his face and waved me back into my car.

I gladly went and let him handle the tire change. The last thing I needed was black tire marks on my moderately clean mint top.

TBP Word Association #1!

A Puncture From A Puncture

The day was long; the road was longer. When Karen scanned the horizon, she though to herself maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Her hair was blowing in the hot desert wind, but a chill went down her spine nonetheless.

Anyone could be out there. Anyone at all. Waiting. Watching.

She pulled her feet back into the car.

Timothy white knuckled the steering wheel, keeping his eyes on the road just ahead of them. He briefly let go to reach for the radio dial, but a news story stopped him.

“Anyone on Highway 51 should be aware of the escaped convict last seen in the area. Don’t stop for anyone. This man is highly dangerous, and has murdered–”

Timothy turned the radio off.

Karen looked to him, fear in her eyes. “We’re on 51, aren’t we?”

Timothy gave a slight nod. “We are, but we’ll have no need to stop, so nothing to worry about.”

They should have finished listening to the bulletin. Timothy struggled with his grip on the wheel as the car veered suddenly to the left, as a tire had just burst and given them a reason to stop.

He tried to reassure Karen that he could change it in minutes, but she gasped and put her hand to her mouth when he pulled the spare from the trunk. It was flat.

“How could this happen? Why didn’t you check the spare?” Karen screamed, her eyes flitting back and forth across the empty plain, searching in vain for something to focus on.

Timothy closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then reached out a hand to steady his girl.

“We’ll be fine. If there’s a wanted man on the loose, the sheriff will be by shortly. We’ll be fine.” He may have been reassuring himself more than Karen.

She caught the uneasy look in his eye as they re-entered their car, locking the doors behind them.

When the sheriff pulled over behind the car, twenty-three minutes later, her blood was still dripping from her outstretched fingers.

Timothy was never found.

A rewrite of this for that.