Rain was coming, that was for sure. I should have known better. I should have checked the gas gauge. I’d been walking for an hour and still had 8 kilometers to get to Cooksferry. I hadn’t seen a single car.
You know that part of the road? That place with the long sweeping curve that just keeps getting sharper and sharper. Yeah, that’s the spot. Dangerous curve that. I was just beyond that curve, ‘bout a hundred yards beyond, when I heard her coming. I stepped off the side of the road and looked back. It was an older model MG cabriolet, painted that dark “English Racing Green”. The top was down, the engine was roaring, tires complaining as she barreled around the bend.
I think her mistake was downshifting as she came out of the curve. I think she didn’t need to do that. She should probably just have stepped on the accelerator and she would have come out OK. She would have flown right past me merely tousling my hair with the slipstream that tailed behind her car.
But, that’s not what happened. I could hear the whine of the engine change as she stepped on the clutch, separating the drive train. I could hear the engine rev when she tapped the gas with the clutch depressed. I heard the pitch of the engine change when she finished her downshift and dumped the clutch. It screamed in protest and the front end of the roadster veered immediately to the left putting her into a slide. I watched her fight the wheel to no avail until she quit sliding and started rolling.
The car rolled over and over right up to the sign. You know that crooked sign.
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What little was left of the roadster came to rest up against that sign post. I thought sure she was dead. No one could have survived that crash. Imagine my surprise when she crawled out from under her ruined automobile. She saw me coming and waved me to slow down. “I’m OK,” she said.
Her blonde hair was worn in a shingle cut, she was probably in her early twenties, and she sported long white leather boots and a miniskirt. One eye squinted as she looked at me, “Who’re you? I’ve never seen you before.”
“Are you sure you’re alright?” I asked.
“Yeah, I do this all the time.”
“What do you mean; you do this all the time?”
“I mean everyday at this time I crash this car right here. The first time was 1964 and I was killed. That was the worst one. My private hell is to repeat it every day until I make the bend and get to the roadhouse. The roadhouse was my haunt in those days, apparently this is my haunt now.” She grinned at her own joke.
I tried to wrap my mind around what she was saying, “You’re dead?”
“As a doornail, honey,” she laughed and began to fade.
I looked at the car and it was already gone. She was fading fast, “Don’t downshift!” I shouted but I didn’t know if she heard me.
Well, I got my gas, I got my car, I settled into Cooksferry and took a job at the roadhouse, tending bar. I never went back out to the sign. I didn’t want to see that horrible crash again. Then one day about two years later, it happened.
I could hear the car coming, I knew from the whine of the engine that it was her and she was moving fast. Leaping the bar, I dashed to the door and into the gravel parking lot. The green MG was barreling down on the roadhouse. She swerved into the lot, spraying pebbles on the cars in the first row as she came to a stop.
She saw me and waved as she nosed the convertible into a spot, “I finally took your advice,” she yelled, “Thanks, you were right.”
I followed her into the building. I had lots of questions but when I got inside she was nowhere to be seen. I looked back at the lot. Daryl was pulling his truck into the spot where she had parked. The MG was gone too. I guess the roadhouse is her haunt again these days. Occasionally a customer will send a drink over to the blond at the table in the corner but I never see her.
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