Spare Tire

July 18, 2011
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Angela eased her car down the narrow dirt road hoping that none of the rocks that she was driving over would pierce the spare tire at the right front wheel. The thought of replacing it pounded in the back of her head, like a woodpecker continuously picking away at the same spot of bark. But money was tight, like it always was, and a new tire went to the bottom of her list of things that needed to be done. Anna had grown out of her tennis shoes, Aaron needed a tie for his formal, and there was a thick crack stretching across the ceiling of the kitchen threatening to burst at any moment. Not to mention the pile of bills that kept steadily growing on the counter next to the microwave. She tried to erase the list of impossible tasks from her mind but they refused to be wiped away.

She stopped her car in the large dirt rectangle that passed as a parking lot. She was right in front of a row of steel pillars that reached up into the heavens, like giant metal fingers emerging from the earth. White exhaust billowed out of them and floated into the sky. The gas looked so innocent and fluffy, like the coal plant could have been producing clouds instead of toxic air. She sat back in her seat, the black leather burning the backs of her thighs, and watched the workers mill about. They stood in tight circles, shouting insults and slurs, every so often tapping off the ash of their cigarettes. Angela knew that Johnny would come out soon, so she tried to cherish her last few moments alone.

Just at that moment, she saw him barrel through the thick metal door whistling and swinging his arms. She let out a breath, he was whistling, which meant he was in a good mood. Too many times she had seen him charge out that door, his stare fixed straight ahead and his arms crossed. She was lucky today.

“Yo Angie,” he called, cupping his hands around his mouth. “Let’s get out of here.” She got out of the drivers seat and made her way to the other side of the car. Johnny always insisted on driving and Angela never had the energy to argue with him. As she passed him, he reached out and pinched her side and she shuddered, his grease streaked hands leaving a mark on her blouse. They both got in the car and he shut his door with a loud smack. He fiddled with the radio dial before finding his favorite channel and glared at her when he landed on it, hating that she had changed the station. He didn’t say anything though; he just grunted angrily and stared at her with ice gray eyes.

She wondered how long it would take him to pass out in front of the TV tonight. Usually he would be gone within a couple of hours, but he seemed especially energetic today. His left leg bounced as he tapped his fingers to the beat of the song and he continued to whistle. All of the things that she needed to do kept on running through her mind. She needed to make dinner, meatloaf was Johnny’s favorite, but she thought she might be able to get away with microwave pizza because of his good mood. She would have to wake up early tomorrow to drive Anna to her play practice and she needed to wash her work uniform. And the tire, she needed to get a new tire.

They pulled out of the parking lot and onto the skinny dirt road, Johnny driving miles over the speed limit. She was jostled from side to side, her knees knocking against the side of the door. He sped faster and she was about to ask him to slow down when they heard a loud, distinct, pop and the car started to slowly sag to the right. Johnny stopped the car.
“God damn it, Angie!” he shouted, his meaty hands forming into fists. “How many times have I told you to replace that tire?” She brought her legs up to her chest and rested her head on her knees. Yup, she thought, meatloaf again.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Jappyalldayeveryday said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm
You set up a nice situation here. Good job :)
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 8, 2011 at 4:04 am
I like the way you did this. It was short and held my interests the entire way. Your descriptions were wonderful and added a lot to the story itself. Your character's thoughts were entertaining, and I thought the ending was perfect. :)
ArchimedesWhite said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 7:16 am
Well, i don't usually read stories such as this, with  family drama. But you managed to capture my interest, and i feel like you could be one of the best drama writers on here. You just need to keep with it...
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