Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)
TITLE: One Very Bad Day
By Cheryl von Drehle
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It started with a call from Aunt Genine at 6:30 AM. She flat out yelled at me for not visiting her and my mom last week. So she and Mom are yet again in cahoots. They sort of live together, in an old two story house in the city. My mom owns the upper flat and Aunt Genine, the lower. I think they spend way too much time together.
Mom plays the guilt card when I miss a visit, complete with whispery voice and flat affect. Aunt Genine just rants. Both are effective, and I reluctantly agreed to come by after church today.
I was in my flatbed truck by one in the afternoon. Tooling down back roads, I was enjoying a sing along with my favorite country ballads, out of sync and flat on the high notes, but satisfying nevertheless. Yes, okay, I did take that curve on Route 42 a little too fast. I heard something clunk under my wheels, and saw in my rear view mirror the possum I had creamed lying pancaked on the road. Man, I hate killing off wildlife like that. “Sorry, pal” I whispered as I turned my diverted attention back to the road, just in time to skid onto the shoulder.
I barely missed plowing into the trees as I screeched back onto the pavement. But another mile down the road, my truck began bumping along. I pulled over to examine the left rear flat tire. I considered calling a tow service to come out and change it, but I am flat broke, so I tackled the dirty job myself. I was back on the road in a half hour.
The flatlands gave way to city neighborhoods and a skyscraper skyline. Of course I circled Mom’s block five times seeking a parking space without success. I widened my search and ended up a quarter mile away.
I saw Aunt Gen peer out from behind her lace curtain as I came around the corner. She was standing on the front porch by the time I hit the steps. I stifled a smile as I bent down to get the obligatory hug. Aunt Gen barely reaches five feet tall. Since she broke her hip last year, she has traded her four inch spike heels for sequined turquoise slip-on flats. She bellowed out a greeting in a voice that could have flattened the walls of Jericho.
I hurried upstairs, Aunt Gen trailing behind, to see Mom waiting at her front door. We exchanged pleasantries, caught up on news, and revisited her favorite television shows. She offered me a lukewarm semi-flat coke. After half an hour our conversation began to falter so I wandered over to the mantle to peruse the display of family photos for the umpteenth time. My favorite is of my Dad, when he was 21 years old and sporting a flattop.
Dusk began to settle and I said my goodbyes while backing up to the front door for my drawn out escape. I tripped over the rug, falling flat on the floor, and wrenched my back while trying to save my face.
Now it is almost midnight. As I lay flat on my back reviewing my very bad day the anti-inflammatory kicks in and pushes away thoughts of welcoming an early demise. Taking “me” out of the equation, perhaps the day wasn’t that bad after all. In the morning I will catch a view of better things to come, just ‘round the corner.
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