Pen + Inks: House Portrait

 Commissioned - in private collection

House Portrait - 11" x 17" / 28 x 43 cm


Short story: Flat Tire


Flat Tire

      Tuesday evening, while taking one of my favorite long short cuts home [on Bierrun Road ~ which is made up of many sharp twists and turns] a sleek black Lexus-type car comes veering around a blind curve and in the middle of the road. A stern-faced nattily dressed woman in the car glares at me. She is clearly not accustomed to being inconvenienced. Quickly I swerved over to the right. Before I have a chance to do anything else, I hear a loud "Pop" and know immediately that I have one big blow-out flat as the tire makes contact with a jagged rock.

     In the hundred plus feet that I have to drive in order to pull over [luck that; other parts of the road are not so generous] my mind conjures all sorts of swear words and foul thoughts interlaced with terms like "Yuppie Scum" and the "B" word. What you see above is how the woman "gifted" my truck.

    I got out intent on fixing the tire, hoping the rain promised doesn't start too soon. "Call Triple A!" is the advice from home. I don't want to but when I can't get the spare tire cable to lower [WD-40 wasn't cutting it] I decide why not.

     By the time the guy from the tow service arrives, at least I've got the front tire almost off. A pleasant enough feller ~ a strapping, stalwart crew-cut blond, with a workman's tan, sporting prison tattoos while wearing designer glasses ~ he had an engaging demeanor, and set about to work at loosening the stuck cable with a good pry bar and sinew.

     He and I review the problem here. I've had the truck over three years, never had to use the spare, the bolt that holds the cable into place must have oxidized together ~ in short, they rusted.

     Now they's stuck together and can't come apart, like two dogs.

     Two dogs?

     Right. Two dogs.

     Uh huh. I replied.

     Old timer locals drove by, slowing down, offering assists or good will; while those who could have been the lady's friends rolled up their windows when they passed us.

     After over half an hour the cable still won't move. The Triple A guy says 'I'm gonna have to call the flatbed'. I quickly calculate how much more it'll cost to bring a flatbed up a narrow windy back dirt road plus extra tow miles I'm not covered for. I ponder for a minute and says aloud, 'Even worst now is not being able to get to the packy before it closes', then I grit my teeth and tell him, let's try this one more time.

     Both of us grunt and tug at the tire beneath the truck, when suddenly ~ "clunk" the rusted cable bolt gives way. We can change the tire at last.

     After we're done, we engage in small talk and he gives me his personal cell phone number and we agree to hook up later on . . . which we eventually do.

     Furthermore, I do make it to the packy, but with minutes to spare. But I still get home too late.

     Thanks lady.

Portraits: Fireman