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Watch That Gas Gauge - 1st Half

This is, as indicated, the 1st HALF of this fairly lengthy poem. The 2nd half had to be posted separately due to Poetry Soup's file-size limitations. No other way I could manage to make it happen... We were on vacation, in our brand new SUV, when we ran out of gas, so we were looking left and right, Hoping very desperately - alas, to no avail - there’d be at least some friendly sign of life within our sight. Cell phone to the rescue, I would dial four-one-one. The operator asked, “Your party’s state, and town, and name?” The conversation that we had might not have got her killed, but I don’t think she understood how very close she came. “I don’t know my party’s town and name,” I calmly said. “We’re stranded in the mountains. We need help. Our fuel is gone. Surely you can check the yellow pages for a station. A little friendly help from you is what we’re counting on.” “Sorry, sir…we can’t give out that kind of information. And…for what I’m paid,” she snapped, “I wouldn’t if I could! Why don’t you try hiking? After all…you’re in the mountains! Besides, I’m sure a little walk would do your family good.” I was so incensed I nearly ate the stinking phone. A “super-snot,” to say the least...I called her several names. Before too long I realized that she had disconnected, and, Sue - my wife, was yelling…“When you’ve finished playing games, “Maybe you could shut your lips and try to be constructive, and find a way to get some gas. That is…if you’re all done Ranting like a lunatic. And - if the phone’s not dead - pull your head out, numb-nuts - and try calling --- NINE-one-one!” Sue was right (she almost always is), and so I did. A very helpful lady took my call, and we were set. Once she understood that we were stranded she explained, “Just relax, I’ll make a call and see if I can get “Someone out there right away. I know right where you’re at. My uncle has a kid who runs a station on that road.” “That sounds great,” I told the gal, “and thank you for your help.” I tossed a little smile at Sue…but she was still P-O’d! “There ya’ go,” I said with pride, “they’re sending someone out. It won’t be long before we’re up and running once again.” Sue continued glaring as she bit me one last time, “You know…this is the dumbest mess you’ve ever gotten us in!” It was close to 4 p.m. when - up the dusty road - came this ancient wrecker - (I was really miffed…we’d called at noon!) And when the driver stepped outside the cab, my heart would panic. There before us stood what most would call your “basic goon.” “You shouldn’t take a trip unless you know you have a spare,” the fool began. Then followed up with, “How’d ya’ git the flat? I’d ‘ve been here long ago, but we was pretty busy…and I was not exactly sure ‘bout where you folks was at.” I glanced at Sue. Her eyes were bugged, her mouth was open wide. Both of us stood speechless in the seconds that would pass. Extremely disconcerted by the errant misconception…“We don’t have a ‘flat,’ I promptly quipped…“we’re out of gas!” “Gosh…I wish I’d knowed that. I’da brung along some gas,” The doofus answered, then announced, “Since this is your vacation, I’ll have ya’ all fixed up an’ on the road before ya’ know it. An’ just to save a bunch o’ time, I’ll tow ya’ to my station.” Now, being towed would cost a whole lot more, so I was angry…but we were at the mercy of this moron, and we knew it. So…being in the spot we were, as much as it disturbed me, reluctantly, I bit my lip and answered…“OK…do it.” Forty minutes later, at what some might call a “station”, (the only un-abandoned one for prob’ly sixty miles), Stood but two old rusty pumps…one “Regular,” one “Diesel”… and ‘round the back and down the sides were rusting cars…in piles! Sue and I, and both our kids, were getting rather cranky. I queried, “Where’s the closest place that we can stay the night?” Our response: “Inside your car, ‘cause you ain’t goin’ nowhere. There ain’t no power to run the pumps, or even run the lights. “Every day, at five o’clock, the state turns off my power. From nine to five they leave it on…so I can do my work. Of course that means there ain’t no gas ‘til 9 a.m. tomorrow.” My wife and I could only stare…our children went berserk. “I’d try to siphon something from the wrecker, but, ya’ see, diesel gas, I know, would booger up your SUV. While you’re sleeping - in your car - I’ll check your belts an’ hoses. It never hurts to keep an eye on those…an’ folks…it’s free.” “That sounds pretty good,” I said, “ nice of you to offer.” I looked for Sue’s approval. She said...“Guess it couldn’t hurt.” And then I added, “My name’s Bob. I see that yours is Howard.” “Well, you see wrong, ‘cause mine’s Denise…“this here’s my sister’s shirt!” “You don’t mean to tell me that your sister’s name is Howard…and your name is Denise,” I countered! “You must be kidding, sir!” Then Susan pinched my arm and whispered - underneath her breath, “Damn it, Robert, watch yourself…you’re talking to - a her!” “Well, I’ll be darned. Forgive me,” I apologized at once. “It’s just that I have never seen a woman drive a wrecker.” “No big deal,” she muttered, as she spit a pool of chew that splattered on my sandals. I would feel the urge to deck her, But since she was a female…and my wife and kids were there…I simply walked away and told the boys, “Let’s make a bed.” We shoved the luggage left and right, then laid the seats down level, but found that we were ill prepared to face the night ahead. Now, don't skip the second part, it's a riot...

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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