The puncture

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

They are sitting in the slumped car, waiting for the AA man to turn up. The police have been out and coned them off, as if they constitute some sort of incident, so now all they can do is wait.

The last thing his dad had said to him before they left was about the tyres. The old man’s always on about it, every time he sees them. It’s almost a joke. Even so, you couldn’t have anticipated this – nails in the road, doubtless off some builder’s pickup. First he knew was a loud bang and the car lurching to the right, kids screaming and his wife gripping her seat like she does anyway. Took her a moment and then she’d started on at him about how they were going to be late to see her mother and why hadn’t he got the spare fixed, and meanwhile his sons are spinning it into an ever-bigger disaster involving flames and crushed bodies. His daughter sits silent, staring out of the window at the cars hurtling through the grey December afternoon. She’s so quiet nowadays, barely a smile.

The car windows are steaming up with the breath of conversation, so that it becomes harder to see into the distance. The flashing orange lights are still nowhere to be seen.


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