What a place for a flat tire – a lonely stretch of coastal highway. Glancing in her rear-view mirror, Abra, shook her head in disgust and could almost hear her ex-husband speaking from the grave: “Abra, be sure that you always have a good spare tire in your trunk. I won’t always be around to take care of you.”
Abra scoffed aloud, “No Honey. You aren’t here to help. But then again, you weren’t too helpful those last six years of marriage.”
Slipping out of her seat belt, Abra opened the door to her truck and took a deep breath. With her head erect she moved decisively to the rear of the truck. Yes, it was a flat tire. But how? All four tires had been new when they were mounted just weeks ago. The tread was in great shape … maybe a nail? No matter the cause, she had to deal with the flat.
She looked into the truck bed at the carved wooden figure of her cigar store Indian, flat on its back. Its welcoming smile did nothing for her spirits because she knew that, underneath the carved figure, the tire well was empty. Maybe she should have purchased that spare tire which the salesman had insisted she would need someday. But the tire salesman had sounded just like Bob: “You should have a good spare tire when you travel.”
So she had replied, “I think I’ll be alright. I’ll be back in later to get a spare.” Now, that moment of transference was now coming back to haunt her.
Going to her truck cab, Abra reached for her cellphone with bravado, only to find that her phone had no signal. Clicking her tongue she began to berate herself: “Silly woman! What am I going to do with you?” There was no answer, of course, so she closed the door and began walking up the hill directly ahead of her. At the summit, she checked her phone.
One bar appeared on the screen, and, smiling in victory, she scrolled through her list of contacts. She dialed her insurance company for roadside assistance, but each attempt brought frustration. The calls dropped before she could even say, “Hello.”
Standing there in silence, she realized she could hear the roar of the ocean to the east, and looking that direction, she spotted the lighthouse. She had forgotten that Brighton Lighthouse was nearby. Once again, she smiled, hoping that just maybe there would be a stronger signal closer to the lighthouse. But before she could journey to the lighthouse she would have to return to her truck.
Surveying the truck’s contents, she decided the wooden Indian would be fine in the truck bed, but with her hands on her hips she asked, “What am I going to do with my produce?”
She had been to the Edgetown’s Farmers’ Market and purchased fresh peppers, onions, corn on the cob, squash, artichokes, potatoes and mushrooms. She reasoned that if the windows were left up, then the produce might spoil in the heat, so she decided to leave them down and to take a chance that no one would come along and steal her food.
Abra rolled down both windows and pulled a recyclable grocery bag from the truck. She tossed in a bottle of water and then took her nine-millimeter revolver from the glove compartment and put it in the bag as well.
The walk was longer than she had anticipated, and she was beat by the time she came to the gravel road that led to the lighthouse. Looking back toward the highway, she wiped her forehead with her arm and then in seconds she drained the bottle of water. Revived, she walked the last hundred yards to the lighthouse door. She knocked and called out, “Hello, anybody home?” but the only reply came from gulls circling above.
Abra drew her phone from her pocket and made a silent wish, but aloud, she said, “Well, cellphone, it’s up to you.”
She was more than relieved to see three bars on the screen. This time the call to her insurance company was successful. In just moments, a tow truck from Edgetown was on its way, and its owner Bud would meet her at the lighthouse.
She waited in the shade of some nearby trees, enjoying the tranquility, and she gave herself permission to daydream. But sheer delight flooded her soul when she heard the rumble of a heavy truck hitting gravel. Rising from the grass and walking toward the tow truck as it came to a stop, Abra asked the driver, “Are you Bud?”
“Yes, Ma’am, I am. And you are Abra?”
Abra nodded and said, “I’m glad you found me. I haven’t seen a single vehicle coming or going on the road.”
“You must be new around here. Today is the Friendship Festival. Most folks make a full day with the carnival, dance, and fireworks. Traffic will be back to normal later tonight.”
“Glad to be of service. But could I ask you one question before we get going?”
Abra said, “Go ahead,” but was stiffening inwardly, “Is this about a spare tire?”
Bud replied, “No Ma’am!”
Abra flashed a smile and said, “Good.”
Bud leaned closer and asked, “What’s with the wooden Indian? It used to be in front of Tim’s Tacos.”
Laughing for the first time in what seemed an eternity, she answered: “I bought it this morning. I’m going to put him on display in front of my medical marijuana shop. I’m starting a new life.”
Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Ann Scott