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03.08.01 12:56 a.m.

"She's got tons of DNA
But all they see is T&A
A perfect lady looks that way
Knows what she can and cannot say
To the bending men who alter their
Direction as the try to halt her
Caterwaul as they assault her
After all this, can you fault her mouth?"

 -Bree Sharp  

I am sans my car now. There are few pleasant stories in my repertoire that being that way. (This is what we in the business call a "teaser.")
Today, I entered Dutchess to be greeted by a woman on the ground, having a seizure. I was too late to be particularly helpful, but I wanted to be. So I stood back and tried to see if there was anyway I could help. After waiting several minutes, I realized I had become one of a large throng of gawkers (I was not a gawker, I was trying to help this poor woman, but I was surrounded by the same sort of people who slow down to a crawl at a particularly atrocious car accident). So, I scurried upstairs to as not to be guilty by association. Other people, better trained people (I wanted to prevent her from swallowing her tongue, evidently that it not what it done. The educational puppets lied to me), were attending to her and she seemed to be recovering. I was not needed or useful.
Then there were classes...
Then classes ceased and will not reoccur for a week...
Yay, I suppose. Save that my car is not in my immediate possession. Oh, you are still waiting to know why, aren't you? Wait a moment longer.
It was my intention to see Sarah today. For the first time in over two years.
Some exposition is needed as to why I have not seen her is so long. I will skip everything until the Post-Katian (my life, after the Kate break-up) period. Soon after that, I grew understandably smitten with dear Sarah. Quite possibly in a rebounding way, but there was quite a bit of honest affection with it. So I decided one warm October autumn day to visit the darling, though she is something like an hour from me. I got as far as a town away when my car completely died.
Here most people would proclaim, "Oh, that is a real pity, but what can you do?" You shouldn't be so hasty to jump to conclusions! Let me finish. It died and came to rest directly in front of a car service station, where they told me they could fix it, simply not today. They also lent me the use of their phone to cancel plans with Sarah and get a ride home.
Odd coincidence, right?
Well, after going through the great expense of towing it home and having it repaired (as I explained today, I am not mechanical. The inside of a car looks like insect and cephalopod parts to me. Organic in a very ridged or unpleasant way. So says the lad who eats calamari by the pound...), I decided to visit her again a couple of months later. And I did make it all the way to the street she lived on. Then she sent me home without seeing me because she had a date and couldn't psychologically handle what I represented to her. I promise you, this made perfect sense and I accepted it as a completely valid excuse because I am stupid like that. So I went home.
Today, I decided to visit her again. And I was three miles from her house, waiting at a stoplight. The engine died. I figured my car had just stalled. No such luck. It would not turn over at all.
Dead, dead, dead! It's all useless! Knives, poison, ropes... It's been done already.
Well, maybe they all weren't useless.
So I sat, for two hours, seeking to restore my car to life with oil and "dry gas," to no avail. It conveniently died next to a gas station and a Plymouth dealership (I drive a Plymouth Sundance, if only for the name).
I was within walking distance of the goddess Sarah. And I could not get to her. Frustrating beyond belief.
So I summoned the help of my father (an hour away) with the cell phone. While I waited and read tales of alternate history, four police officers and a fireman spoke to me. The police pretty much just informed me that I had to leave soon and made sure someone was getting me. The fireman put a flare behind my car in case my emergency four-way lights were not message enough for fellow drivers.
My father arrived when there were two cops conversing in front of my vehicle. I suppose he must have thought I had done someone quite a spell worse than take him out of the warmth and safety of the house. After the police left, he gave a shot at fixing my car. He could do little better than I had done with my unctuous elixirs from the gas station. So he declared that he would tow my car home with his truck using some sturdy rope.
Perhaps you have not yet been fully acquainted with the utter fear I have of car accidents? Well, it is quite hideous. Also, I was painfully aware that what he was purposing was definitely not legal and could result on my losing my car and/or license.
But it was an adventure. That helped me swallow my fear and attempt it, along with my rationalizing that his car was just like a very strong horse and my dead car was like the carriage it pulled. This obviously erroneous logic got us back to Dutchess, where my father decided we would leave my car for my more mechanically oriented older brother to give an attempt at repairing on Saturday.
By the time I exited my car, I had gone from the fairly logical formal operational lad you witness to a firmly concrete operational, bordering on preoperational boy (I was issuing myself instructions aloud). Evidently this was a bit more stressful than I was allowing myself to believe at the time, which is certainly for the best else I would have been far too tense to be of any use.
After warming my "froze toes" up in the cab of my father's truck (I told you I regressed!) and eating some microwaved pizza in the sanctity of my own home, I started behaving as I normally do.
This is probably a perfectly dreadful thing to say, but I care more that I missed a chance to see Sarah than I do that my car is far from me and I might as well be legless. It certainly was an experience for me, though. I didn't really get too phased or too upset at any juncture. I was actually happy for a little while when I found a tiny stream where I was waiting and the trickle of water over pebbles was melodic. So I am fairly proud I kept my cool, especially when faced with a cop every twenty minutes (they were trying to be helpful when they were not shining flashlights in my eyes, I'll give them that).
In other news, I think Eileen is worried that she is going to lose me. As what, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind... um... I mean, I will always be a great friend to her, she is very important. I gave my word that I would always and I mean to keep it. She admitted to being uncomfortable when I told her I was going to see Sarah tonight and jokingly suggested biting would be involved because Sarah has a continued and growing interest with vampires and I am a minor scholar on them.
Eileen wasn't uncomfortable, to my knowledge, over Kendall or CG. But I pretty readily suggested they might be nothing romantic, as they ended up not being. Sarah and Kate are competition for my attention. Not necessarily in a romantic way, but not a day goes by that I do not think of them and love them. That could be intimidating for anyone else whom I seek to make time for.
Certainly Sarah is not vying for my affections, romantic or otherwise, so she has no need to be concerned over Eileen (aside from adoring that Eileen suggested she [Eileen] was jealous of her [Sarah.])
Kate, I shall not speculate. Even when we were together, she so rarely confessed anything like jealousy or envy about other girls. To attempt to do so now would be ridiculous.
Perhaps when I wake up, I will have my car back. Nonetheless, I am very happy. I had an adventure and I shared it with you.

reading: Alternate History
listening: Cheap and Evil Girl
wanting: the ability to break the spell that prevents my getting to Sarah. Perhaps I need a golden apple, ribbon, and comb...
interesting thought: I can shape reality with my mind, but I have trouble restarting a car. Or do I?

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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