Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRIAL (05/10/18)
- TITLE: Another Day in Paradise
By Eric Nichols
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Another Day in Paradise
The vague form of an ancient, hulking station wagon with really bad shocks began to come into focus, perhaps a half-mile away. It sounded like it was running on about five cylinders, but from Lisa's perspective, a choir of angels couldn't have sounded lovelier.
Lisa quivered with anticipation as the station wagon barreled toward her; suddenly she realized the old bucket of bolts was really moving. When she realized the motorist was probably going to blast past her like a cat out of a Jacuzzi, her heart sank to her knobby knees. â€œSo much for Alaskan hospitality,â€ she muttered to herself.
No sooner had the station wagon sailed by her, at a good seventy miles an hour, than there ensued a horrific screech of rubber on asphalt that lasted a full ten seconds. To her amazement, the station wagon, a full five hundred feet past her, suddenly reversed, and wove precariously back toward her at nearly the same speed. Lisa stared with timid curiosity as the driver, a woman of some Asian or Indian origin, parked her growling station wagon in the middle of the road, a cloud of burnt-rubber smoke still belching out of the wheel wells.
The woman leaned out the window. â€œI saw your bags on ground, and decided you were not just pickin' blueberries.â€
Lisa found herself intrigued by the woman. She had an accent that seemed decidedly Scandinavian, although her features were quite clearly Asian. Lisa guessed she was some kind of Eskimo or something, but her speech was not at all like she would have expected. The woman emerged from the station wagon and stood up, taking a casual, almost reverential gaze across the taiga. She was a monster of a woman, at least six-foot-two. Her upper arms were as big around as Lisa's thighs; intricate geometrical designs, like some kind of maze, were tattooed on her arms from her wrists to her armpits. She had long, narrow, slanted black eyes, shoulder-length, perfectly straight, blue-black hair. A not-too-faint mustache, sort of a Fu Manchu, draped over the corners of her mouth. She was strikingly beautiful in a scary sort of way.
Lisa approached her cautiously. â€œUm. You wouldn't have a spare tire on you by any chance?â€
The woman gazed critically at Lisa's Metro. â€œI do; but I do not think it would fit such tiny car.â€ She circled the stranded vehicle slowly, then knelt by the flat tire, placing her immense hands on either side of the wheel. There was little doubt in Lisa's mind that the woman could have changed the tire without benefit of a jack or a lug wrench, but even brute strength would be of little value in this situation.
Unexpectedly, the woman bowed her head, and began to speak in some sort of strange language, which Lisa guessed was Eskimo, Indian, or Martian. Then, just as suddenly, she began speaking in that odd Scandinavian-English accent.
â€œTire, in the name of Jesus, I command you to be healed!â€ She then removed her hands from the tire, rose to her feet, and calmly returned to her station wagon.
Lisa was too shocked to speak, as the woman revved her engine a few times, and blasted off toward Fairbanks. She stared at the rapidly retreating station wagon in disbelief and disgust. She finally was able to vocalize her thoughts, now that nobody was around to hear them.
â€œWhat sort of smart-assed people live in this stupid place, anyway?!â€ She didn't know whether to laugh or cry. She decided to resume her original course of action, and hike back to Fairbanks. She gathered her parka and her dried fruit packs, opened her trunk, and flung her suitcases into it with disgust. She slammed the trunk lid and decided to give the Metro one swift kick in the right rear tire just for the grief it had caused her. She approached the offending tire, drew her foot back, and then froze in shocked disbelief.
The tire was fully inflated.
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