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Communication Breakdown



“No! No, no, no, no!”

Ellie cried as her car stalled again. She turned the key, saying a silent prayer. The lights on the dashboard flashed and flickered and then died completely. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, she was driving her uncle’s 1986 Thunderbird, the tires were bald and the silver paint had faded to a dull gray.

The car had stalled while waiting at a red light on Jefferson Boulevard and State Street, one of the busiest intersections in town. Stuck in the right lane she turned on her emergency flashers and got out of the car. Traffic was already approaching the intersection, she thought about trying to push the car out of the way but there was really no place to go.

“Call June,” Ellie said into her phone, not trusting her shaking hands to hit the right numbers.

The honking started as she reached the curb, barely hearing "Hello?" over the traffic noise.

“It’s me, Ellie. Oh hang on,” she pulled the phone away from her ear.

A car was stopping. “Do you need help?”

She held up her phone, “Calling now, thanks!”

“El?” she heard from her phone.

“Oh my god! My car broke down. I’m stuck on Jefferson at State. Luckily I was in the right lane, so I am on the sidewalk but traffic is crazy and everyone is honking. It’s so awful!”

Ellie didn’t wait for a reply, “You were right. Of course, you’re always right. You’ve been warning me for months to get the car checked. I am so stupid. Now the car is blocking traffic and I am stranded. People are yelling at me. Hello? I would move my car if I could!”

She knew she was ranting now but it didn’t really matter. “You even told me that John could look it over to save me some cash. It’s a great idea but I can barely speak coherently around John. It’s his fault for reminding me so much of Captain America. Most of the time I don’t know if I should salute him or kiss him. Not that he would be okay with the kissing part, he thinks I am an idiot. The only thing I am ever able to talk to him about is comic books. How totally lame is that?”

There was more honking, a guy in a huge pickup truck flipped her off, missing the back of her car by inches.

“You have a great day too, asshole!” She yelled as the truck drove away. “June, I have no idea what I am going to do. This is the story of my life, confused and stuck.” She was nears tears when she heard her name.

“Ellie?” She heard again but the voice sounded different, it wasn’t June.

“John?” She cursed the stupid voice dialing on her phone.

"I’m almost there. Maybe we can grab dinner and talk about comic books.”

“Great,” she smiled as his car pulled up behind hers.

Kimberly Relph Czerwonka is a freelance writer from Arizona, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter and a menagerie of small animals. Her current work in progress is The Sunset Canyon Post, where she rambles about being a writer. In her free time (ha ha), she channels her creative energy into many projects that quite possibly will never be finished. Catch up on her progress here.
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