Got up this morning happy to see sun, after a miserable day watching soccer in the cold rain yesterday. The good guys won that game 7-0, pushing their record to 6-0 on the year.

So this morning I throw soccer girl in the car with a bunch of snacks and a gallon of coffee and we head to Burlington for a 1 pm game. Burlington’s far. Traffic wasn’t terrible and we arrived on time.

The game was tough. The bad guys played hard. The good guys looked lethargic. The refs made a lot of questionable calls and in the end the good guys lost 2-1. On the drive home, we didn’t talk for a while. After 10 years, you learn that’s proper protocol.

“Want some food?” I ask about 20 minutes into our 2-hour trip.

“No.” she said.

She hadn’t eaten since breakfast, but it still wasn’t time to talk. “Ok, well, I’m hungry so we’re going to Wendy’s.” I can’t be sure, but I think she shrugged and looked out the window.

I engaged my right turn signal and started to change lanes when suddenly a massive tractor tire appears on the lane lines as I’m crossing over. Not just a tire, a freaking massive tire that got bigger and bigger “SHIT!” I yelled at the point of impact. Behind me the tire shreds and bounces as cars brake and swerve.

We’re safe. But something’s stuck underneath.

I exit and pull over to a gas station. Front end is wasted. Part of the front bumper is hanging on by a few screws and is dragging.

The bearer of even better news after the loss. I call Tina. “How much is our deductible?” I ask.

“Oh my God, I’m glad you’re safe,” she said. “I dropped my phone at the grocery store today and broke the screen. You win.”

I prop up the plastic bumper as best I can and we go to Wendy’s where they got my order wrong and were out of Fanta orange (we don’t usually drink soda, but were willing to go for it today and, well … yeah.)

Back on the highway, the dragging noise appears. I pull over and prop it up again. I needed a good exit, but there’s not much between Charlotte and Burlington, and I ignored soccer girl when she said, “We need some duct tape.” back at the Wendy’s exit because–what does she know?

Back on the highway, the dragging noise appears right away. I turn on the hazard lights and drive 55 mph in the right lane and you would have thought I was going 25 with how people passed me.

A few miles down the road, an exit. The signs leading to the exit showed that there was just one gas station. I pull in to the gas station. It’s an old-fashioned gas station with a mechanic’s bay. Perfect. But it’s closed. My options limited, I drive down the road another mile or so where I find an open Exxon. Bingo.

*Please have duct tape please have duct tape please have duct tape*

When I walk in, the guy at the counter turns and gives me a look. He was a monster with unkempt red hair and bushy beard, was wearing overalls with no shirt on underneath, and had a confederate flag tattooed on his back.

I looked down at my phone pretending to be busy.

A young white couple in polo shirts appears from the bathroom, giggling. That explained the Lexus outside.

Red gets his Budweiser and leaves.

“Do you have duct tape?” I ask the old Indian man behind the counter.

“Sure sure.” he says pointing to a shelf with cans of oil and Red Man hats.

I buy a 3′ roll of duct tape for $9.99 and go to the bathroom where it smells like weed.

Back outside, I can’t get my hands into the grill to string the duct tape. Soccer girls helps. We tape up the bumper and head home. Where we’re safe, sound, and a little exhausted.

Tomorrow I foresee a trip to the body shop where, no doubt, another adventure awaits.

Life is funny. Sort of.


Creating v. Consuming
Doing Content. Right.

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.