Friday, December 10, 2010

"The Day After"

Hey, look at that. I can write a story with a happy ending that's actually fun to read! NO WAI YES WAI!

"The Day After"
Aaron M. Smith- December 2010

“Ow, ow, OW! Kill the engine! Carl, kill the engine!” I cried.
“Why?” Carl shouted from the front seat.
“Because I said!” I yelled, the tie tightening on my windpipe.
The engine cut, and the fan belt stopped trying to strangle me. Carl came around from the driver’s seat and looked at me.
“Why’d you stick yer tie in the car?” He said.
“Just get me the hell out of here!” I yelled.
Together, we extricated my tie from the engine. It was shredded, completely ruined. I wiped the oil on my hands onto my tuxedo pants. They were black anyway, I rationalized.
“Give me your tie,” I said.
“What, why?” Carl demanded.
“Because it’s my wedding day!” I snapped. Carl obediently undid his tie and passed it to me. I tried to concentrate on my double-winsor and not fantasize about strangling my groomsman with it.
“Hey, you guys got the car running yet?” Ethan crawled out of the back seat of the car, holding an ice pack on his head.
“Well look who decided to wake the hell up,” I said. “Thanks for joining us.”
“I can’t help it if I drank more than you last night,” Ethan said, shielding his eyes from the oppressive California sunlight.
“You passed out after six,” Carl prodded.
“Stan? You guys figured out what’s the matter?” My brother, Graham, came out of the back seat and joined the three of us at the front of the car. He looked into the open hood and shook his head as if he knew precisely what he was looking at.
“Fan belt’s blown,” Carl said.
“No it’s not, it’s right there,” Ethan said. He was the only one of us who knew a timing belt from a tanning bed. “Everything looks in it’s place. I don’t see smoke anymore. How long has it been since you checked the oil?”
“The what?” Carl said.
“Okay, that’s it. I give up,” I said, walking around to the driver’s side. I sat down on the ground at the driver’s door and looked at the road. There was an impressive amount of nothing on the road between Vegas and L.A.
“Now don’t panic, Stan,” Graham said, walking around to the side with me. “It’s going to be fine. The wedding isn’t until four. We’ve got plenty of time.”
“We’re stuck in the middle of freaking nowhere, my wedding is two hours and two hundred miles away,” there was a sudden BANG! from the front of the car, followed by a whole lot of black smoke and a whole lot of coughing. “And we’re short one tie. Please tell me when I can start panicking!” I didn’t mean to shout, but I couldn’t help it.
“But think about last night—wasn’t it worth it?” Said Carl, sitting down on my other side. His white shirt had two huge, black, hand-shaped grease smudges across it.
“How the hell should I know?” I asked. “My head’s still killing me. I don’t know what you paid for those drinks, but it was too much. I might as well have drunk varnish.”
“It’ll all come back to you next time you check your Facebook. I took a ton of pictures,” Ethan said. I turned around. He was tapping vigorously on his iPhone.
I put my head in my hands. It was over. The greatest day of my life, totally ruined. Shelly was going to kill me. She’d practically killed herself getting everything together- the venue, all the invitations, the seating chart…
“Stan, look,” Graham said.
“Graham, I don’t want to hear it. I just don’t.”
“No Stan, look!” He voice rose, and he jumped to his feet.
I looked up. A long black car, the first car we’d seen in nearly an hour on the lonely desert highway, was speeding toward us. I stood up to get a better look at it. I thought it was just a Lincoln or something, but the closer it got the stranger it looked. Was the heat playing a trick on me?
Moments later, a huge black limousine had stopped on the road in front of us. I approached the back windows, squinting at my own reflection in the mirrored surface. My forehead was sunburned, and there was a black grease smudge across my cheek. My reflection slowly vanished as the window slid down, air conditioning rushing out to meet my face.
A beautiful woman with short, curly brown hair and plump apple cheeks grinned out at me from the darkness inside the limo. She stuck her head out the window, looked around, then giggled when she saw the thick cloud of smoke now rolling from open hood of our car.
“You let Carl drive, didn’t you?”
“…Sandy!?” Graham said, rushing to the window.
“Ethan texted me, told me you guys were in trouble.” The maid of honor winked at me. I turned around and looked at Ethan, who managed to give me a thumbs up with his iPhone hand while pressing the ice pack to his head with the other. “Good thing Shelly left early. Had to meet the caterer in L.A. before the ceremony. Said we could take the limo back on our own.”
“Sandy,” I said, literally blinking back tears. “If I wasn’t getting married today… I’d ask you to marry me.” Another bridesmaid from within the darkness of the limousine giggled. I turned around to see Carl heading to the limo.
“Hey Sandy,” he said. “You guys got an extra tie in there?”
“Just shut up and get in before we’re all late!” She said.