The speedometer hits 80 mph with no sign of slowing down. My Karmann Ghia, it’s old and not in a collectible way. I bought the car for 400 bucks scraped together from working the credit desk part-time at a furniture store on the weekends. The engine block sat covered in sand and the doors flew open every corner I turned, but I considered both mere details. I knew my grandfather could clean it up and fix the doors and he did with slide bolts, installing an extra set on the passenger side the day I almost dumped out my grandmother on a grocery run.
I pull over at John Deere and throw the car into neutral. The engine roars like twenty lawnmowers ready to explode. I switch off the ignition and grab a roll of black electrical tape from the glove box, my go-to fix to keep this heap running.
I lift the hood and fiddle with the simple engine. Someone yells, need help? A guy walks across the parking lot wiping his hands with a grimy cloth. He’s outfitted all John Deere.
He tips his hat with the trademark stag and I step back, giving myself a clear getaway, lesson learned post-Ted Bundy. Even though the creep is locked up in the state pen, a girl can’t be too careful about inspired copycat killers. The guy leans in and I tell him the car won’t slow down, even when I lift my foot off the gas. Be right back, he says and returns holding a large paper clip. More trusting now I’ve witnessed his interaction within the actual John Deere building, I step up and watch him fasten the paper clip in and through some thingamabob and give it a tug. Start it up, he says.
The car idles in typical sputter. Rev the engine. He listens and nods. OK, foot off the gas. The engine slows. Yup. The throttle return spring snapped. The paper clip will do you for now, don’t wait, get it fixed. He slams down the hood and thumps an all set. I slide bolt my door locked and ease away, back in the groove of responsive RPMs. Later, I secure the clip with two slivers of electrical tape. I never take the car to a mechanic, but I do buy a box of large paper clips.
Sheree Shatsky writes short fiction believing much can be conveyed with a few wild words. Her work has been published in a variety of journals including Anti-Heroin Chic, Fictive Dream, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bending Genres, New Flash Fiction Review, KYSO Flash and The Conium Review with work forthcoming at Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art. She is twice-nominated for Best Microfiction 2020 by Fictive Dream and MoonPark Review. Read more of her work at shereeshatsky.com.