After Candace and Gloria were seated at the table, Gloria motioned for the server to bring them both another drink. When she brought the drinks, she introduced herself to Candace.
“I’m Sheila Ziegler. Gloria and I have been friends for as long as we have been alive. Is this your first time here?”
I am Candace Baker and yes, this is the first time for me. My friend, Sandra Devers, was supposed to meet me here, but she cannot make it tonight.”
“I know Sandra.” Sheila said. “She’s been coming here for a year or more. “ When someone called out her name, and motioned for a drink, she said.” Nice to meet cha, gotta go back to work now. If you need me to bring you another drink, just wave, to get my attention.” Then, she was quickly gone.
“All right sweetie, I’m all ears, rant on.” Gloria said as she made a hand motion indicating that Candace should begin her story.
“Where should I start? I may as well start with the drive to work” Candace said as she took a drink of her salty dog.
“It was Monday morning and I was just exiting off of Interstate twenty, onto the Hulen Street exit, when I heard a loud pop. Naturally, it was a flat, and it was a Monday.
Immediately after the popping sound, the car began to make another sound. I guess you would say it thumped, rattle, rattle, and thumped. I assumed it was just the flat tire. I thought that I should pull over quickly because the noise seemed to get worse by the second. I pulled into the first strip-mall I came to.
After parking the car, I popped the trunk, got out of the car and went to change the tire. When I reached for the tire to get it out of the trunk, it started to rain. Lightly at first then the sky opened up and it started pouring. I had just lifted the tire up and was balancing it on the edge of the trunk, so that I could get a good grip on it. Just at that moment, a thunder-clap boomed, I jumped, tripped backwards and fell flat on my backside. “
“Oh no, you didn’t, really?” Gloria said between peals of laughter.
“Not finished yet.” I said, but I was laughing with her. “At least now, it seems funny. When it was happening, to me, it was absolutely not funny.”
Sheila came back to their table carrying three drinks with her. “I’m on break, do you mind if I join you for a while?”
“Please do,” I said.
Sheila sat down and after Gloria gave her, a quick rundown on what I had told her, I continued.
“As I was saying, I fell flat on my backside the tire rolled off the edge of the trunk, hit the concrete and promptly rolled into the street. It was, naturally, seven-thirty in the morning. You guessed it, rush hour traffic.”
Candace had to stop talking for a few minutes to let the women finish their peals of laughter. Picking up her glass, she joined in with the laughter.
“Oh I am so glad I, came here tonight. It feels wonderful to laugh again.”
“This is great. I wonder if I could call in sick. Do you think Stacks would believe it?” Sheila joked. This brought on a gale of laughter from all three women.
Finally, Candace was able to continue. “As I said the tire rolled into the street, crossed all six lanes and stopped, standing up, across the street, against the curb. Now remember I said it was pouring rain? ”
Gloria and Sheila were both nodding their heads, so Candace continued.
“Cars were slamming on their brakes, honking their horns and sliding in every direction. Then, the crashes started happening.”
“Are you serious?” Gloria said, her eyes reflecting the horror she felt.
“Scouts honor,” then Sheila and Gloria both told me to continue with my story.
“Well, I was on the ground, with the rain still pouring down, when the cars were finally all stopped and the sirens started. Predictably, the police were on the way. I was wondering, however, how they were able to not only know about the accident, but also respond so quickly. As far as I knew, no one would have had the time to dial nine-one-one, and yet I heard sirens’ blaring from all directions. When I looked up, I knew how it had transpired. In just the chaos that I could see, there were three police cars. Their cars were smashed at both ends.”
The laughter coming from both women was enthusiastic for quite a few minutes, and Candace joined in.
“Oh man, am I glad that i’m not you,” chortled Sheila. Looking at her watch, she said. “Damn. Break time is over already. I hate to miss any of this, but Stacks expects me to work for my money…”
As Sheila started to leave, she told Gloria she would give her a call the next day, to hear the rest of my story.
Gloria turned to Candace, “Oh lord girl, what on earth did you do then?”
“The only thing I could do. I stood up and wiped my grimy hands off on my bedraggled dress suit, pushed my disheveled, rain-soaked hair out of my mascara streaked face, and smiled prettily at two extremely upset police officers.”
Once again, Candace had to stop to wait for Gloria to get her laughter under control. Five minutes later Gloria wiped the tears from her eyes.
”I would not have minded if I had been in the pileup. It would have been worth it to just to have seen your face.”
I am not so sure anyone who was there would agree with you.”
”All right, tell me what the officers said.”
At that moment, Sheila returned to the table with new drinks for us. I thanked her and continued with what happened next.
“I looked at the officers and said good morning. Nice day isn’t it. ”
“Oh yeah, wonderful day, especially for a forty car pileup along with this deluge we have going on now. “
The older officer growled sarcastically, and asked me for my driver’s license and registration.
Reading his name tag, I said. “I am sorry, but it was not my fault, Officer Grant.”
I dug through the glove compartment for my registration. When I took it out, I put it with my license and handed them to him.
“Are you telling me that Officer DelPino and I did not observe your tire rolling out of your hands, heading straight for the street, rolling out into traffic and causing all this- this pandemonium?” He was swinging his arm in a gesture to encompass the entire scene.
“Of course, I am not saying that. Well sort of, you see, I was on the ground when the tire starting rolling. I simply mean that it was an accident.”
Taking a long drink from her glass, Candace continued.
“However, before Officer Grant would allow me to change my tire and leave the area, he had me relate the entire story of how the accident had come about, approximately five times. He also conducted a thorough, time-consuming interrogation of every driver that had been involved in the accident.
After approximately three hours, explaining and then waiting for the cars to either be hauled off or driven off, Officer DelPino retrieved my tire, changed my flat, and I was allowed to leave for work. I left there with a court date, in three weeks, to try to get this mess straightened out.”
Sheila came back to the table, with another drink for everyone including herself and said, “I am on break again. Stacks said he would rather I take a longer break now as opposed to when the place fills up with people. Tell me the essentials of what I missed, will you?”
I’ve got this.” Gloria said. She gave Sheila bullet statements on what she had missed of the conversation, while I listened. In her hurry up and tell it quick manner of speech, the telling of my story, had both Sheila and me laughing until our sides were aching.
“Now Gloria, I did not get in the officer’s face and tell him to “get out of my face.” I simply told him that it was not my fault.”
Oh, wow Candace. “What a mess. I bet you were glad when that was over.” Sheila said and Gloria nodded in agreement with her statement.
“I was, but that was not all that happened on Monday.”