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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Jerk-stop-puff-and-smoke
By remi oyeyemi


I have a new job.

I’m so excited I wake up every morning singing at the top of my lungs. I have two weeks to prepare for my new found adventure at Alder Consulting. Tomi thought I was kidding when I told him I was moving on. I guess somewhere in his small mind he thought I would stick around forever. He cut my pay twice and refused me my benefits. Well I promised myself not to court trouble; I would have sued him for all he was worth.

But hey! This is celebration, ‘Think pleasant thoughts’ I say to myself.

So I’m here thinking, what do I need? I go through my ever growing list. More clothes? Check! More shoes? check! I’ve been given a new laptop, check! Plus an inedible blackberry! Check!

Wait a minute, Alder consulting is farther than my usual route, did that nice looking HR Manager say something about an official car? I rush to my room, hurriedly looking through my files, I pull out the Appointment letter with a flourish, and right there, fourth on the list is an official car. I let out a shout of triumph, fist in the air. My sister rushes in thinking I have mistaken the facial cleanser for the mouthwash, again.

“Are you alright?” she says peering into my mouth.

“Never been better, I have a car!” I quip

She looks lost, “I don’t see one in our lot, except of course you parked it under your bed”
She bends down to look. I pull her up and sit her on the bed, with a thud.

“Quit joking. They’re giving me an official car at my new job!”

I love the look of surprise on her face as her mouth forms a cute little ‘O’.


“You can say that again” I fall back on the bed my eyes on the ceiling, a somber mood washing over me “We have a car, I wish mum was here”

“She’ll be proud. …..but don’t you think there’s a problem?”

“I don’t see what” I say as I rise from the bed.

“Honey, you can’t drive” she says it slowly, like I’m a little dense

I roll my eyes at her, “Like I don’t know. Anyway that’s a small detail”

I pick up my phone and start scrolling through the numbers.

“I’m calling Peter now, he’ll teach me. I’ll be at the RSC by weekend; I’ll pass the test and get my License. Simple” I rubberneck.

“I hope” it’s her time to roll her eyes at me.

My brother, Peter, comes around to teach me to drive. He’s wanted to do this forever so naturally he’s as excited as I am. Sad thing is all excitement drains out of my bones when I see the contraption I’ll be learning in. I walk around it staring at the monstrous mass of metal.

“It’s the caricature of a Jeep!” I say with a mournful look

“Quit joking Sis, it’s my buddy’s and it will certainly do. Huh…except you don’t want to learn” he says, with a look of challenge.

I swallow painfully, nodding slightly.

And we begin the lessons, in my brother’s friend’s four wheel, two door, can’t -go- in through -the -drivers- seat, manual drive.

I learn of the Brake pedal (which I use a lot as every object on the road scares me), the accelerator and the clutch pedal (which I hate with a passion).

The lever on the driver’s seat won’t work so I’m at a very uncomfortable distance away from the pedals. Peter says I need to press hard on the already hard clutch pedal to keep it down. This is terrible as my legs lie at a 180 degree position in my attempt to do that. The muscles in my legs and ankles scream at me and I crave for the comfort of my soft bed.

I struggle to keep it moving but the car has a mind of its own. I get funny glances from the few people on the deserted road as the four wheel, two door, can’t -go- in through -the -drivers- seat, manual drive goes jerk -stop- puff- and-smoke. I feel like a clown.

I survive.

My new car is nothing like my classroom one. It comes with split folding seats with adjustable headrests, center console armrest, Defroster-linked air conditioning and best of all, it’s an automatic drive with oh so soft clutch pedals.

Ah! My ankles testify.

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This article has been read 332 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 05/04/09
I'm short, so I know exactly how you felt. I'm not sure I could see the topic of "Hot and Cold", but you have good descriptions and dialogue.
Keep writing.
Glenda Lagerstedt05/06/09
Great title. It stood out in the crowd. Well written and easy to identify with.
jody madsen05/06/09
creative, I enjoyed reading it and it was funny. Loved the title being repeated in the story.