Let’s catch up on the further adventures of Gladys. So far she has had a touch and go incident in the virtual vessel of viruses, came to a skidding stop in front of the Airport Terminal/Bowling Alley on Naked League night in the sardine can/crop dusting mail plane and obtained her Yugo rental vehicle from the Rental Cars/Tractor Repair lot. She got lost in Little Bitty City and had a fine dining experience at the Burger Joint and has now embarked on the next leg of her journey.
Gladys put the pedal to the metal or in this gas to the rusted floor board. She gave that little car all it was worth. The Yugo sputtered, spit then chugged up the entrance ramp to the major highway. Gladys kept her foot on the throttle hoping to gain some momentum as eighteen wheelers and lifted 4 X 4 pick-ups passed her by. She pushed harder on the accelerator only to be greeted with a big puff of white smoke and a hitch in her gitty-up. She backed off the gas and hugged the right side of the lane trying to stay out of the faster traffic. The road was dark and she could barely see in front of her when she realized she had not turned on her headlights. She began searching the little car for the headlight knob. She looked high and low and finally found the button marked lamps. She clicked it on then off then on but there was no illumination. She pulled to the side of the road desperate now to find them. How would she ever make it to her destination with no headlamps and if she had no headlamps what about tail lights? Someone would surely run completely over her without them signaling she was there. She searched in the dark little car for some loose wire or what she might be doing wrong with the knob. She searched her giant handbag for something which might shed light on the problem. She dug and found nail files, notebooks, make-up, tweezers, can opener, some lint covered peppermints and a roll of Tums. She looked for her miniature flashlight but remembered they had confiscated that at airport security because a flashlight is more of a weapon than a can opener. Then she had an inspiration and retrieved her Bright Red Crackberry. She fingered the roller ball and it came to life. She shined the illuminated screen around the dash. She brightened the steering column then moved the light toward the center of the dash. There was a piece of duct tape under a toggle switch with LITES written in thick black sharpie. She flipped the toggle downward and there was light and it was good. She looked at the road illuminated in front of her happy that she would now be able to see the road ahead.
With blinker blinking she pulled back out onto the highway and chugged on in the direction of her destination. She still had another forty miles to go before she could park the little car and sleep. Suddenly her eyes were heavy at the thought of driving that distance and she began looking for a Starbucks or at the very least a McDonalds which could satisfy her need for an instant boost of caffeine. There was nothing only darkness and the whir of passing trucks. She took another swig of her tea syrup and plodded on. It would take her days she thought if she continued at this rate of speed.
She spotted her exit in the distance after what seemed like hours on the road. She again flipped on her blinker and moved the little car into the exit lane. The corner was brightly lighted with a Stop and Stab. She pulled into the parking area and checked her fuel gage. She was surprised to find it on E. She motored over to the pump and pulled up to the one marked REGULAR. She walked around the car looking for the gas cap only to find an oily rag stuck in the hole. She removed the rag and pushed the nozzle into the hole. She squeezed the trigger and heard the familiar click of the gas pump tallying up its fare. It passed three dollars, five dollars and then stopped on eight dollars. Gladys squeezed the trigger again only to be met with a flow of gasoline onto her shoes. She removed the nozzle and looked into the tank only to see gasoline at the very top level.
She shrugged and wiped her hands and her shoes with the Germicide towlette she retrieved from her oversized handbag. She then walked into the Stop and Stab to pay for her fuel and hopefully get a caffeine fix. She walked to the rear of the little store and located a coffee pot and some cups. She took a cup then grabbed the pot sitting on the burner. She smelled the charred coffee before she actually saw it. It was too late she had already dumped about half of the pot into her cup. Shaking her head she threw the cup and coffee in the trash and went to pay for her fuel.
“That’ll be nine dollars and seventy five cents” the woman with the bright red hair told her.
Gladys looked up from her handbag and said “no, I only got eight dollars worth of gas.” The red head whose name tag identified her as Shirley replied as if speaking to a five year old “and the cup of coffee with tax comes to nine dollars and seventy-five cents.” Gladys took a deep breath. You see Gladys’ cardiologist told her in order to keep her blood pressure in check she needs to breathe. So in times of aggravation Gladys always breathes deep. “The coffee was old and burned. I didn’t drink the coffee in fact I didn’t even remove it from the store” she retorted. Shirley smacked her gum rolled her eyes and said “well somebody’s got to pay fer them cups and they ain’t gonna take it from my pay. So you owe me NINE DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-FIVE cents. Is that cash or credit?” Gladys heard her cardiologist voice in her head saying sometimes it is better to just let things go than to fight a losing battle and Gladys you just can’t win against stupid. So she took out nine one dollar bills and said “I’ll pay you for the cup but I’m not paying you for the coffee.” She turned while Shirley was still trying to tell her she owed seventy-five more cents and made her exit.
Gladys marched to her awaiting Yugo and climbed back in on top of her suitcase. She turned the key in the ignition but nothing happened. She waited a minute and tried again, still nothing. She took another deep breath and felt a little light headed. Maybe she wasn’t used to all this clean air she thought or maybe it was the fumes from the gas pumps. She once again turned the key and was greeted with a “un-nuh-nuh-nuh” then nothing. That is when Gladys’ active imagination went into overdrive. She remembered an old movie with Rory Calhoun in it. He had some type of roadside store and when people stopped he had one of his workers disable their vehicle so they couldn’t leave. Then he would drug the unsuspecting motorist, plant them in the ground and fill them full of fattening food and make sausage out of them. They became Farmer Vincent’s Crispy Critters. It was really a dumb movie but that was all it took to get Gladys’ paranoia moving. She sat waiting and praying that the little car would start and get her away from Shirley and her burned coffee before she became one of Shirley’s Succulant Sausages.
She looked in her review mirror and saw a giant of a woman get out of her pick-up with giant tires. She walked toward the little car and Gladys cringed and closed her eyes. This was then end. She just knew it. The giant would grab her and stick her in a hole just like a potato. Then she would be force fed butter and gravy. Wait what is so terrible about that? Oh yeah she remembered she would be turned into sausage. The woman bent down and said “you done with that pump?” Gladys opened one eye and looked at the woman whose face took up the entire window. “Um, yes; but my car won’t start” Gladys squeeked in answer. The giant eyed the little car and said “try it and let me hear what it sounds like. I’m kinda good with cars.” Gladys turned the key in the ignition and heard a click, click, click. The large woman nodded her head and walked back to her truck. She returned seconds later with a hammer. Gladys swallowed hard and thought “oh my GOD she’s going to bludgeon me to death with ball peen hammer.” The large woman leaned down to the window again and told Gladys “pop the hood.” Gladys looked around the steering column and located the latch. She heard a pouf then hear the squeeking hinges and the big woman was under the hood. Bam, tink, tink “alright try it now” she called from the front of the car. Gladys turned the key and heard click,click, tink, un-nuh,nuh,nuh, chug, cough then the little engine sprang to life. The large woman went back to her truck retrieving a bottle of R.C. Cola. Gladys watched in awe as she walked to the front of the little car.
Gladys being more curious than cautious stepped from the car and joined the giant woman. She watched as the woman poured the cola over the battery cables. She took a rag from her back pocket and wiped everything down then looked back at Gladys “there you go. You should be good as new.” Gladys craned her neck all the way back, looked up at the good Samaritan who had saved her from the inevitable and thanked her profusely. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am. Can I pay you something for your trouble? Buy you another R.C.? I mean you most certainly saved me from becoming a Shirley Snausage” Gladys effused. The large woman looked a little frightened of the crazy spouting little woman in the Baltic car and said “oh no. That’s okay, really just getting you on your way is thanks enough.” Then she hastily retreated to her truck and locked her doors.
Gladys waved out her window again offering her thanks as she pulled out of the drive and turned down the little farm to market road to her next destination.
Saturday at the Maul
15 hours ago