Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: See (07/22/10)
TITLE: Driving Miss Crazy
By Linda Germain
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For starters, they were referred to as Bert and Ernie long before any place with a street named after a seed was created. Roberta was the more assertive twin. She had a 1953 Desoto and fancied herself an excellent driver. She claimed Poppa had meant for her to be in charge of it. She refused to sell, even when Zeke from over at the antique car museum offered to buy it for a handsome price.
“No Mr. Jenkins,” she explained with great dramatic gestures, “It’s part of my family.”
She marched off with her snooty head held high and ran smack into the door frame. She stumbled backwards and fell against his best 1929 Model-T where she bounced off the running board and then rolled right under the thing. She was a skinny woman, so it wasn’t a difficult fit.
Zeke and his employee, Millwood Dover, couldn’t believe their eyes. Millwood was a reticent fellow with little tolerance for that kind of excitement. He ran over and got down on his knees to look for her.
“Miss Roberta! Are you hurt?”
She didn’t answer. Zeke joined him on the nicely polished floor.
“Millwood, we’re gonna have to drag her out. Reach under there and get a hold of her.”
Millwood shrank back as if he had been asked to go into a burning building.
“Well, Zeke…what am I supposed to grab on to? She’s not a very fleshy woman.”
Zeke had to think a minute. “Look. She never let go of her pocketbook. Just scooch under there on your stomach and get the strap and then just pull.”
About that time the other twin walked in to see what was taking her sister so long. The first thing she saw was the bottom of Millwood Dover’s wingtips. Being a woman of uncommonly good sense, she couldn’t help what went through her mind. Wonder why his silly wife doesn’t get those ugly things half-soled?
Zeke ran over to try to redirect the elderly woman to his office. A terrible screeching commotion broke out under the ancient black Ford. He dashed back to the site of the surreal drama and realized Millwood had disappeared.
Ernestine asked a sensible question.“Why Mr.Jenkins, those look like Bert’s feet. What’s she doing under that old vehicle?”
“I’m checking the oil, you demented old lady!” Miss Roberta was not too happy.”Get me out of here and call an ambulance for Mr. Dover.”
Zeke dropped back to his knees once more and saw poor Millwood’s new tie caught in part of the car chasse. His nose was bleeding.
“Miss Bert, do you know what happened to him?”
She did not intend to be placated.
“He was trying to steal my purse, so I socked him with it. It’s got a rock in the bottom for just such an emergency.”
When Millwood’s jealous wife Millicent pushed open the glass front door, what she saw was Zeke on his knees, Miss Roberta’s orthopedic shod feet sticking out from under an ancient black Ford, and Millwood trying to wiggle to safety with one hand and hold his nose with the other. She whirled around to confront the quieter of the twins.
“Ernestine Fontana, what in the world is going on?”
“I’m not sure, Millie. I was just about to leave on vacation in Poppa’s Desoto.”
Thunder roared out of the skinny woman flat on her back and still covered with a beautifully restored automobile of historical vintage.
“You cannot drive, Sister. Besides, you don’t have a license.”
“Listen, Miss Magoo,” Roberta yelled, “You can’t even see the big E on the eye chart. “
Ernestine strolled towards the door with a strange new confidence. “Don’t worry, Bert. I’ll go very, very slow, like you do.”
She waved, but Zeke was busy mopping up and Millicent was demanding to know what old Miss Roberta was doing under the car with Millwood.”
Sweet, patient Ernie cranked up the old Desoto and pulled out into traffic.
When last spotted, she was leading about 100 cars on a two-lane road with a double yellow line down the middle. Once she got started, she just couldn’t stop.
No one ever saw her again. Maybe she simply couldn’t see her way to come home.
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