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A Story…?

February 13, 2014

A woman once told me I am too good-looking for my own good. I didn’t say anything, but thought intensely about what her definition of “good” could possibly be.

She was an old woman with a drawling but rhythmic speech pattern and eyes that wandered as she spoke…or listened, or did anything really.

I met her on a cold rainy day. She was having car trouble, so I stopped to help.

“You know something?” she said as I walked up to her window. “You’re too good-looking for your own good.”

I stood there for a solid minute without saying anything, and she just let her eyes wander around like a prairie dog’s.

I saw her eyes snap back to me and her yellow teeth appeared under her thick brown lips. She made a noise that I assumed was her version of a laugh, but sounded more like a fat man’s belch.

“I forgot you were standing there. Can you help me, please? My car quit on me here, and I’m an old woman.”

“I see that,” I said, not sure which of her statements I was referring to. “Could you pop the hood?”

She fished around for awhile until I asked her to open the door and reached down and pulled the latch for her. When I lifted the hood, I could see her problem immediately. There was no engine. Instead, there was an old tin trash can supported by a long broom handle like a rolling pin.

“I see you’re problem, mam,” I said. “There doesn’t seem to be an engine here.”

“Sure there is,” she said. “I put one there.”

I stood for a solid three minutes in thought.

“Mam, how the hell did you get here?” I asked after the silence. It was a back road outside of town. There had been no other cars to pass by since I had stopped.

“That’s no way to talk to a mam,” she said. “Oh, I didn’t drive.” I looked at her, I’m sure with the most confused look on my face possible.

“I walked from four miles back. Saw the car here and put the engine under the hood but for some reason it just won’t start.”

“Would you like a ride somewhere?” I asked, knowing I was not going to get anymore answers to the many questions I had bouncing around my brain.

“Why sure!” she said and jumped out of the car like little girl. Before I knew it, I was driving down the road listening to her hum a tune I’m sure she had never heard.

“Where do you need to go?” I asked her.

“I’m heading to Reno,” she said with conviction.

“Nevada!?” I thought for a moment – watched the barbed wire fence poles fly by like the ticks of a clock. “What for?”

“Never been,” she said.

“Hmm. Me neither.”

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