I am working on an A-Z challenge, this one featuring short pieces of fiction. Today’s letter is J for Jeep.
“Will you look at that? Where do these old guys get off, driving around in a Jeep? Trying to recapture their youth, I’ll bet you anything.” The speaker was no spring chicken, himself, as he drove his three-quarter-ton Dodge Ram pickup, in the fast lane, while a Jeep merged onto the highway, picking up speed to match that of the flow of traffic. It was impossible to see into the Jeep’s interior, due to the tinted glass.
“Now, Samuel, don’t be negative. For all you know, it’s his grandson’s Jeep, and he is on his way home from dropping off the kid at school.” Marsha, Samuel’s wife of thirty-five years, was used to his diatribes against any sort of vehicle, which didn’t match up to his idea of “appropriate.”
“School? What kind of kid drives a Jeep and goes to school? No, it’s some old goat who thinks he can get broads to look at him because he has a ‘free spirit.’ What a joke.” He shook his head, again, carefully keeping one eye on his rear-view mirror, at the fire engine-red vehicle, which had incurred such disgust.
“I fail to grasp the significance between the car one drives and the fact that he may-or may not-be going to school.” Marsha kept her voice neutral, not wanting to be drawn into any long-winded debates with a man who would never give up until he had had the last word.
“Oh, come on. If you drive a Jeep, you’re way too busy going to the beach, or the lake or a bar, to attend school.” He pushed his foot a little harder down on the accelerator, to make it clear that he was not about to be passed by any bright red buggies. They were now tooling along out on the open road, and there were few vehicles visible, other than the bright red, sporty Jeep.
“Oh, I see. Guys who drive Jeeps don’t go to school, have jobs or do anything but cruise around looking for women-or I guess I should say chicks. Is that it?”
“Well, that and hanging out with other dudes who drive Jeeps.”
“Brother...where do you get your ideas?” Marsha finally had to ask.
Before he could answer, there was an explosive noise and the pickup truck rocked to the left, in the direction of the center divider, before careening back across the slow lane and onto the shoulder of the highway. “Blowout!” was all he grunted. Samuel instinctively knew better than to slam on the brakes, instead gripping the steering wheel, and riding it out, until they slowed sufficiently to guarantee he would remain in complete control.
Once the truck had come to a stop, he carefully opened the driver’s side door, and eased himself out to assess the damage. Sure enough, the left front tire had a chunk missing out of it, and the rest looked like rubberized shredded cheese.
“Wouldn’t you know that my spare wouldn’t hold up long enough to get me across the county.” Samuel was spiraling downward.
“This is your spare?” asked Marsha. “Where’s the regular tire?”
“I got a flat the other day and put it in the shop. I just forgot to go back and have it put back on. Damn!”
Both Samuel and Marsha looked up and back, at the sound of brakes squeaking and gravel crunching, at the sparkling red Jeep pulling up behind them. Out jumped a spry, middle-aged man, whose most distinguishing feature was the white collar which encircled his neck. A conservatively dressed woman, of around the same age was climbing out of the passenger side door.
“Oh, dear,” she said. “Looks like tire trouble.”
Samuel held his tongue at this rather astute observation, while the driver of the Jeep said, “Well, lucky for you we were right on the spot. Where’s your spare?”
When Samuel explained the dilemma, the man said simply, “No problem. Back in town at the garage? We’re only five minutes out; hop in, both of you; it may not look like it, but this Jeep not only has a back seat, it’s pretty roomy. My wife and I routinely give parishoners rides. We’ll get you back there in a jiffy, and get that spare.”
Marsha smiled sweetly. “You’re not going to the beach or to a lake?” she asked innocently.
“Heavens no! Way too busy for that,” answered the reverend.
“Well, that’s mighty neighborly of you. I was just telling my wife how much I liked the look of your rig. I said I ought to get one of them myself one of these days. Didn’t I, Honey?”
“Of course, Dear.” Marsha smiled sweetly. “Shall we?”