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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: September 17, 2021      Views: 130

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 NOR84 
IN PRINT 


 ABOUT
NOR84 
Nor84 is a former professional secretary/medical staff coordinator who has written since childhood.

Her essays, vignettes and short stories have been published in Reminisce Magazine, Planet Mojave, and the e-zines Long Story, Short; Page & S - more...

The Seal of Quality committee has rewarded her with 3 seals.

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This work has reached the exceptional level
A woman on a lonely highway has a fender bender.
"Incident on a Lonely Highway" by nor84














A light rain begins, and I roll down my window to catch a whiff of raindrops on hot asphalt. I love that smell, which is surpassed only by the fragrance of rain-spattered creosote bushes. A warm breeze caresses my cheek.

I can't see it in the darkness, but a pile of boulders lies a few miles to the left of Interstate 14, roughly 30 miles from home. I sigh as I think about Tiburcio Vasquez and his bandits waiting there to swoop down on heavy-laden stagecoaches carrying gold from area mines south to Los Angeles.

I glance in my rearview mirror and my romantic fantasy fades. A little white Honda is still hanging on my bumper, its driver having followed me from Lancaster, a distance of 90 miles. I draw a deep breath and move to the right lane, but so does the white car.

Slowing down, I force the Honda to pass. The glow of my headlights illuminates the back of the driver's head. A man. They're tough to handle, but I shouldn't have much to worry about. I can hold my own in a fight -- even with a man. I've had lots of practice.

His brake lights alert me that he's stopping, but there's no time to react. The resulting accident is unavoidable. Although the impact isn't great enough to explode my Lincoln's airbags, the collision thrusts me forward against the seat restraint and confusion fogs my brain. That clears and I jump as the owner of the Honda approaches my driver's side window.

"Gosh, I'm sorry," he says. "A jackrabbit darted in front of me and I slammed on the brakes. I didn't want to flatten the poor thing."

I'm fuming, thinking his action could have hurt us both. Glaring I say, "you're standing in the road. Move around the car before something flattens you."

Something like my fist, I think. Who does he think he's dealing with? My night vision is exceptional, and I would've seen any darn rabbit.

"I wanted to be certain you were all right." He steps off the highway and onto the shoulder.

"I'm okay, no thanks to you." I sound like a rip-roaring bitch, but I don't care. This jerk deserves every acid-laced word. "There's a Walmart up ahead. We'll pull in there to exchange information. Take the turn off and I'll lead you in. No tricks. If you don't follow me, I'll be on my cell to the Highway Patrol before you've gone a block."

"Yeah," he mutters, backing away. I guess he doesn't appreciate my tone. "You sure you're able to move your car, lady?"

"Just move that piece of junk out of the way." I nod at the Honda.

"All right. Yeah, sorry."

His voice is like the caress of a hot summer breeze, which would be exciting if he'd wipe the ridiculous grin off his face. It's bad enough to have a fender bender, but does it have to be with a guy who has the body of a god and the face of a saint, but the brain of a gnat? I'm no longer nervous; this one's going to be a cinch.

We take the off ramp and a few minutes later we're inside Walmart's lobby. I glare toward my nearby car with its broken headlight as if my car, and not the dimwit, has offended me. When he hands over his insurance card, I learn his name is Adonis Papadopoulos and I shake my head. In my long experience, I've never known anyone with such a moniker.

"I know the name's a mouthful," he says, as if he reads minds. "Blame my parents. They're from the old country and don't get it that nobody wants a name like Adonis anymore, even if the guy was some sort of Greek hero."

"A god," I say. "Adonis was Aphrodite's lover." Adonis blinks uncomprehending. I suppose he's never heard of Aphrodite. Wouldn't you think he'd be curious enough to learn the mythology of his own people?

"Whatever. I just shorten it to Don. Less embarrassing."

I rummage in my purse, but am unable to find my insurance card. "I'll be right back. I live just up the road and I seem to have left my information at home."

He scowls. "Then let me see your registration."

"I carry all that stuff together in another wallet but I cleaned out my glovebox and ---?"

"Are you trying to pull something? You rear-ended me, lady, and that's against the law."

"You stopped in front of me."

"Yeah, but you hit me from the rear and that makes it your fault. I'll go with you, and then you can bring me back here later."

The jerk believes I'm going to disappear and leave him standing by his car with egg on his face but I have other plans. I agree and open the car door for him. After he gets in, I peel out with tires screaming and merge onto the main boulevard. A few minutes later, we glide into my driveway.

Don gets out, walks around and opens my door. "You live in this neighborhood too? Hey, I'm sorry I doubted you but... Well, sorry," he says again and bows deep from the waist. Nobody's done that for at least a century and if I hear one more "sorry" from this dolt, I'll scream.

"Never mind the apology, let's go inside."

My house is a typical ranch-style with rose beds bordering the sidewalk. The exterior is modern, but my husband has decorated the inside to suit his tastes. I'm proud of it. Don looks impressed too and nods as we enter the living room. "You've got some nice pieces, lady. Is that a real Tiffany lamp?"

"It is. Pull up a chair. It's going to take me a minute to get what I need from my bedroom. I'm sure I left all my papers on the bureau."

"How do I know you're not going to sneak out the back door?"

Ignoring him, I hurry down the hall and into my husband's lair. He's kicked back in his lazy boy as usual, waiting.

"Hello, darling," I say. "We are eating in tonight. Hope you like Greek."

Vlad rises with a grace befitting his rank, white fangs gleaming in the glow from his reading lamp. "Greek's good. So is Italian, but don't bring East Indian again, Mina. Last time, there was too much curry and I got terrible indigestion."

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