No Power (Random prose)

Cressida walked down the stairs, mentally ticking off each item on her agenda for the morning. Doctor, bank, library, and work–   

“Oh, when was it?” she asked herself aloud.  Cressida knew the physician would ask for the first day of her last menstrual cycle. She settled in the passenger seat of her car and reached for her cell phone. If she could see the calendar, she knew she could figure it out. When she was almost certain of the day within a day or so, she put her key in the ignition and turned.  She frowned slightly at the unexpected clicking sounds coming from the engine and the flickering lights on the console’s dashboard. The frown became a confused scowl after her second attempt. She flicked her wrist and the clicking and flashing commenced again.

“Oh no. This is crazy!” A stalled car was a total interruption into her well planned day. She had added extra time as a cushion, intending to get to her doctor’s appointment early in hopes of getting out early. The sandwiching of her bank and library errands between the doctor and work required such cushioning. Now, none of that mattered when she was in jeopardy of missing them all.

Cressida rejected the situation. She took a deep breath and tried again. The clicking sound and flickering lights mocked her rejection. She glanced at her watch and touched her forehead to the steering wheel, wondering how she was going solve this problem without calling Eli.

It was times like these–she was lodged in the middle of a precarious predicament–that her mother’s voice sounded, not quite mocking, in a definite, ‘I told you so” lilt. It was her mom who had told her to sell Gran and Papa’s home-house instead of moving into the major fixer upper ‘way down the road away from your family with a man who is not your husband.’ Last year when her mom warned her–at every opportunity– against moving into her grandparents’ family with her boyfriend, Cressida knew better than to argue–most of the time. She would mostly listen and shake her head in faux acceptance. Other times she would try to explain how she couldn’t bear to see the home where she spent many weekends and summers sold to strangers. The house was in need of many repairs, but she and Eli could fix it up together. Her mother was unaffected by this reasoning.

Now, one year later, in this pretty pickle of a situation, her mother’s words rang true.  She needed help and most of her family–the ones she talked to on a regular basis–were at least an hour away. The house was livable, but still in need enough work to keep her busy for a long while. Her neighbors on all sides were at least a mile away and she didn’t know them enough to ask for help. There were no friends close enough to call except Eli and he was her ex boyfriend. Though their breakup was mutual and amicable she kept her distance. She wanted things between them clear and unmuddled. In Cressida’s estimation, she needed these clearly defined lines more than Eli for reasons she didn’t like to think about.

Cressida hopped out of her car intent on getting to the bottom of the car trouble on her own. It suddenly occurred to her that she couldn’t remember how to open the hood. She grabbed the instructor’s manual from the glove box, flipped to the index for H. “Hood, Opening of” was on page 259. She flipped the lever beside the gas pedal as directed by the picture. Peering under the hood, she saw nothing amiss, though she realized she wouldn’t know what that would look like. She thought if she tried to crank it she could see the issue, but she couldn’t do that without another set of eyes.

“Service, please,” she said to the receptionist at the dealership where she’d purchased her car. It was about 45 minutes away, but maybe they would tow her.

“Service, this is Brett. How can I help you?”

“Hi…um…I have a 2008 Honda CRV and it won’t start. Do you all tow? I bought this car there?” Cressida said. She remembered her doctor’s appointment and that she needed to contact the office to cancel.

“Is is turning over ma’am? How does it sound?”

Cressida hopped back into the driver’s seat. “I’ll let you here it.” She turned the ignition key and extended the phone to the window. “Do you hear that?”

“Barely, it–”

“Here, I’ll do it again,” she said while repeating her actions and readjusting the phone.

“Ma’am it sounds like the battery–”

“But my headlights and inside lights work–”

“It is possible for your battery to have some voltage, ma’am, but not enough to start your car. We do have a towing company we use, but we don’t provide it free of charge to customers. I could recommend them. I suggest you get someone to jump you so you can bring it in. That’ll save you the towing fee.”

Cressida exited the car and shut the door with the force of frustration, not happy about about his answer. “Thank you.” She hung up the phone.

She trudged up the front steps and plopped on the porch swing. Thankfully, it was one of the first things Eli repaired when they moved in.  After calling to reschedule her appointment, she decided, reluctantly, to call him. He was probably on patrol and couldn’t give her car a jump with his police car. Maybe he’d be able to suggest a solution. After mentally preparing herself to talk to Eli after almost a month of no contact, she took a deep breath and phoned him.


This is random prose. Just playing around in my sandbox. Don’t know if I’ll continue.

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