I have been sitting around for a few hours now – alright who are we kidding – I have been sitting around all day as I have a tendency to do just that. During these lounging hours I have been hard at work. Some of the time I was sleeping because dreaming is important. Dreams are important. The other portion of the time I was thinking. I have given a lot of thought on what to write about today.
Seeing as how I came up with nada – zip – zero – ideas, I decided to go a different route. Today I decided instead of entertaining you with some of my normal nonsense, I would post a short story. I wrote this for a competition that I did not win. It has never been posted anywhere before (I emailed it into the competition). Enjoy and keep a look out for why the short story is entitled,
Fifty Nine Cents
The man watched as the water trickled slowly down the windshield. It swirled neatly into patterns mixed with the colored oils of the windshield cleaner. Pressing the button again, he watched as the wipers smeared across the glass. The rain was only sprinkling now but it looked as though much worse was on its way.
Why had he wasted the money to buy these cheap things? They weren’t even cleaning the glass. With each scrape across they merely wiped more water into his line of sight.
“You should have bought the more expensive ones like I told you,” Agnes chided in her ‘I told you so’ way. It grated on his nerves when she was right.
“These were on sale. How was I supposed to know you get what you pay for when it comes to windshield wipers?” He argued the only thing he could think of to say. Sometimes things were cheap for a reason, this was one of those times. What he wouldn’t give to go back and spend the extra $0.59.
$0.59 more had seemed silly to pay for windshield wipers. He always said that saving small amounts here and there added up. If you saved every cent, it added up to a lot over time. But not this time. This time it was costing him.
“Why do you have to be so cheap?” Agnes demanded.
“Just give it a rest already,” Paul had already lost his patience. He couldn’t see to keep driving. He would have to pull under the nearest overpass until the storm subsided.
“Just pull over,” Agnes decided for him what would be best. She liked to side seat drive, “There, there is an overpass. Pull under there and we can wait out the storm.”
“I was already going to do that.”
“Always have to be right, don’t you? You can’t stand it when I’m right. Why didn’t you listen to me? If you just listened to me we wouldn’t be in this mess,” Agnes wouldn’t let it go. “I told you to buy the more expensive ones. I knew they were the better pair.”
“Yes because you’re a windshield wiper aficionado,” Paul had enough. He couldn’t take it anymore. Her voice was like listening to nails scraping on a chalkboard. Her insipid need to criticize constantly was driving him crazy. Even the sight of her had begun to make him feel ill. Perhaps it was the abundant and overly flowery perfume gagging him.
“I know what I’m talking about!” she insisted.
Squinting to try to see through the rain soaked windshield, Paul could make out the beginnings of a traffic jam. Cars were slowing down and were all coming to a stop. He wasn’t going to make it to the overpass. He was going to have to sit in traffic with her. At least at the overpass he could have gotten out of the car and paced to pass the time. Anything to get away from her.
Tapping his brakes lightly, for a second Paul considered pressing the gas and ramming head first into the line of cars now stopped in front of him. Maybe that would shut her up. He could say it was an accident. Could say his foot slipped.
Regaining his sanity, he turned to look at Agnes. If he complimented her it might change her mood.
“I like that hat, is it new?” He changed the topic of conversation.
“Yes but you should be looking at the road not my hat. Slow down. You need to slow down. Watch out for that car there,” she corrected continuously.
“I see them. I’m not going that fast.”
Seeing a side street up ahead, Paul veered quickly into the right lane cutting off an entire row of cars. This was his chance. He could get off the road. Rolling down his window to peer into the now pouring rain, he guided the car like an expert. Ignoring her screams to slow down, to watch out, to stop driving like a maniac, he went faster. Making out the name of the street, he knew his destination was not far. With as much speed as he could gain on the slick roads, Paul headed towards Smith Avenue. The white house with the pink petunias in front.