I am working on an A-Z challenge, this one featuring short pieces of fiction. Today’s letter is U for Uh oh.
“Ahhhhh, ain’t this the life, Shirley?” Ronnie leaned forward, over the steering wheel of his motorhome, surveying the ocean on the left, and the redwood trees, as they zoomed by on the east side of Highway One. Zoomed might be exaggerating just a bit, as the speed of the mammoth motorhome rarely exceeded 43-45 miles per hour, even on the longest of the straightaways. Even that was pushing it, especially if there was any kind of breeze, not to mention a wind. More than likely, twenty-five to thirty miles per hour was the norm. The motorhome actually measured forty feet long, and included a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room, complete with widescreen television, so that Ronnie could follow his beloved Yankees. In fact he was hoping to get to Carmel by seven, but if he didn’t, he would get there when he got there.
“Ohhhhhhh, nooooooo.” moaned George, as he rounded the sharp corner, and spotted the motorhome, lumbering ahead in the distance. “Just what we need...a Winnepiggo.”
“Now George, it is May and the start of the tourist season. Besides, maybe he’ll pull over and let you pass.” Millie was the eternal optimist.
“Sure, and maybe they’ll serve martinis in hell. Why on earth do people have to drive those monstrous vehicles? They just make me want to barf.” George had come up behind the motorhome, close enough to read the fine print on the license plate: Happy Wanderer.
“Look, Shirley! Pelicans! A whole flock of them, skimming along at water-top level. If I wasn’t driving, I know I could spot one nailing a fish. What a way to go. One second you’re swimming along, enjoying the surf, and the next second you’re marking time in the mouth of a pelican. I’ll stick to my nice, comfy home on wheels.”
“That’s nice, Ronnie, but right now I’m checking out the wildflowers growing along the roadside. Between them and the redwoods, I have plenty to see. There is just so much to see here in California. This was such a good investment, buying this home on wheels.”
George maneuvered his Cadillac Crossover so that he was breathing down the back of the lumbering motorhome in front of him. The curtains across the back windows swayed to and fro, allowing him to get the occasional peak into what was probably the bedroom, judging from the framed pictures on the wall, and the tips of a pair of chests of drawers.
Frankly, it annoyed the bejabbers out of him, but then everything about the colossus irritated him.
“He’s crawling along at thirty miles an hour. Why can’t he pull over, and let the rest of the world get past?” he grumbled.
“Honey, I’m sure he would, but where? There hasn’t been a turn-out for miles, and the way this highway follows the cliffs, there doesn’t seem to be any hope for it.”
“Why does he need a turn-out? Why can’t he just pull over?” George was beginning to see red, which meant that he was close to doing something about it.
He swerved out into the oncoming traffic lane, and just as quickly pulled back behind the behemoth, just in time to avoid a little red sports car, zipping along at fifty miles an hour. “Whew,” was all he said.
“Looks like we got a Type-A personality behind us,” muttered Ronnie, noticing the shiny black Cadillac behind him, and the fact that he kept pulling out into the oncoming traffic lane. “I’ll bet he doesn’t even know the ocean is here, or that there are redwood trees that are three hundred feet high on the other side of the highway. I know I can’t travel as fast as others, but I can’t understand why they have to get so gosh darned mad. You’d think I was talking trash about their mothers. Sheesh!”
“Well, Ronnie, not everyone who drives this highway is as interested in the sights as we are.” Glancing back in her right-side rearview mirror, Shirley added, “I think the car behind us is going to try and drive right over the top of us. My, he is close. Is there a spot that we can pull off?”
“Shirley, take a look! If I could, I would. What’s he expect? That I can pull off where there is no shoulder? He’s just going to have to be patient.”
“Whoa! He’s up to twenty-seven miles per hour! At this rate I’ll be in Carmel by midnight,” moaned George.
“I don’t think it’s quite that bad, George. Be patient.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one who has to meet with a client at dinner time. I’m going to blow a fuse if I’m late.”
“You’re going to blow a fuse either way, Dear. Maybe we should just pull over ourselves, and take a break,” responded Millie.
“How is that going to get me there any earlier? I swear, Millie, sometimes I think you’re on the other team.” With that, George abruptly leaned on the horn, sending a loud blast out into the afternoon air. When the motorhome continued to rumble along, George did it again.
“He’s blowing his horn at me? What’s he think that’s going to accomplish? Does he think the road is going to suddenly grow a turn-out, just because he toots his horn? This guy is insufferable. I’m beginning to think he’s a nut case. Maybe I should just stop in the middle of the highway.” George looked over at Shirley.
“Well,” began Shirley, when she suddenly jumped up and pointed. “Look, Ronnie! It’s not a turn-out, but it’s big enough to squeeze in so that this man can pass.” Sure enough, the road widened at a spot where George could ease his rig over, bringing it to a shuddering stop. He leaned out his window as the Cadillac flashed by, just to get a glimpse of the driver.
“I hope you’re satisfied,” was all he could think to say. As he sat there, deliberately looking out to sea, he saw a pelican dive, disappear for an instant, and come up with a wriggling fish in its ample mouth. “Yahoo!” he bellowed. “Perfect timing!” He was beaming from ear to ear.
“Praise the Lord,” sang out George, without so much as a flick of his wrist to acknowledge the good deed done by the driver of the motorhome. With that he floored the gas pedal, and was quickly up to fifty miles per hour, slowing only when he got to the next bend. Coming around the bend, he immediately floored it again, looking sideways at Millie, and saying, “We’re sailing now!”
Two minutes later, he came barreling around yet another bend in the highway, and had to apply the brakes instantly. Just pulling onto the highway, from the first turn-out that had materialized in the past ten miles, was a motorhome that-if anything-made the last one look like a miniature.
“Uh oh,” groaned George. “Here we go again.”