Where we were wasn't on the damn map I'd bought at one of those old country convenience stores. Yes, just like the ones your thinking. The first Wrong Turn movie kind of out-of-the-way gas station, tucked in a remote West Virginia ghost town, that kind of shop. We'd passed interstates and highways for five hours straight, and Jenna had curled with a fleece blanket over her lower half in the passenger seat. Her heavy snoring and a cup of cold coffee had kept my eyes open. On the way to her grandmother's funeral in Seattle, Washington, I took a detour to visit Moses Lake, Washington. It's a small farming town, but even the most giant couch potato would love the blue lakes that faded into forests. The fishermen, who brought their kids for some father-and-kid time, seemed to be chatting up a storm instead of fishing. The kind of you got something to tell me kind of fishing trip. I yawned several times and rubbed my eyes as the coffee had lost its strength. A thud echoed, then sparks flew like a sparkler on the Fourth of July, and the steering wheel wanted to go every way but straight. Jenna gasped to an upright position. I was sure she'd blame this shit on me. Jenna extended her arms in front of her body, holding the dash rail.
"Great... What'd you do now?" Panic shook Jenna's voice as she turned to look over her shoulder as the rubber separated itself from the wheel. "Where are we?" Jenna said in a scolding tone. "Not another detour, right?" She glanced at me. "Please tell me you didn't take another detour."
I said nothing.
"God damn it."
I clenched the steering wheel with both hands as my stomach and my lips tightened. We came to a sudden halt in a ditch. I could smell burnt rubber and raw metal. "Relax. It's not my fault," I said, almost convincing myself. My hands death-gripped the steering wheel as I took deep breaths.
"You can let go now." Jenna's narrow eyes turned to crinkled slits. "Don't just sit there, do something." Jenna had this way of waving me off as if I didn't matter. I'd felt I hadn't mattered for a long time. "Can't change a tire, can you?"
"Wait? What? Me? Of course, I can." I couldn't change a tire if my life depended on it, but it wouldn't stop me from trying. "I'm going." I slammed the door and opened the trunk. Just my luck; there's no fucking spare. Jenna told me to make sure we had one before we left, but it slipped my mind. I shut the trunk and returned to the car. "There's no..."
"My father was right about you!" Jenna said.
"Oh, you would bring him into this."
"You know what, just forget it, I'll call All-State." Jenna dialed the number. "Great, we're stuck." Jenna threw her phone into her bag and leaned back. "What now, big guy?"
"No signal, huh?"
"What the fuck do you think?" Jenna snarled.
"Say it already! It's all my fault."
"Well, you're the one who got us stuck."
YOU ARE READING
Guilt Is For The GuiltyShort Story
On the way to Jenna's grandmother's funeral, Ben, her boyfriend, have a tire blowout along a highway with little traffic. Jenna and Ben argued over who's to blame. An old hotel rests five miles from the car. While there, Ben witnesses a robbery gone...