The Red Car

Stanley was struggling to get the front door key out of the lock, a sagging bag of groceries at his side, when his wife Moira, sporting her designer sunglasses, confronted him.  Her steely accusation, “I saw your car today,” stopped him in his tracks.

“You were in Burnaby?” he asked clutching his sagging bag of groceries.

“No, in Kerrisdale on 41st.”

“My car and I were in Burnaby.”

“That‟s where I thought you were going.”

“And right you were.”

“If I’d known you were coming into town, I’d have met you for lunch.”

“As always.”

“Your car was smack in front of my favourite Italian restaurant.”

“Where we’d have met.”

“With a scarf in the back seat.”
Your scarf?”

“Not my scarf, an expensive pink scarf.”

“Then you knew.”

“I thought you’d taken my advice about your secretary.”

“To buy her a scarf?”

“No, dumbo, to thank her for her extra work.”

“She’s well paid.”

“I didn’t expect you to take her to lunch at my favourite restaurant.”

“It wasn’t my car,” her husband sighed, pulling wilted leeks from the grocery bag.

“But then,” his wife said, voice rising.  “I checked the front seat and spied the satellite radio.”

“Which, thanks to you, I don’t have.”

“Why should you hear news from Japan if I can’t afford a spa weekend?”

“It‟s the BBC news I listen to.”

“Wherever. So there it was bold as brass.”

“Check my car.  There’s no satellite radio in my car.”

“Easy enough to hide.”

“For God’s sakes, Moira, get real.”

“I was beginning to steam.  Last Tuesday when you said you were having a drink with the guys you were probably with scarf lady.”

“Where is this going?” Stanley said, grabbing a cloth to sop the melting ice cream.

Moira grabbed the soggy carton, yanked open the freezer and chucked it in, then turned to her husband, and leaned forward, her shoulders as high as a hawk.

“By now, I was furious: no lunch, sugar level soaring.”

“Then you checked the license plates and saw the car wasn’t mine.”

“I don’t know your plate number but I know your red car. You’d left the window open—an expensive radio and you leave the window open.”

“Which I never do since they stole our hamster.”

“The fight was on,” his wife cried, eyes gleaming. “I leaned into the car, grabbed the scarf and hurled it into a puddle. Then I dove in after it, snatched the radio wires and yanked them out. I felt vindicated—like a warrior goddess. There I stood righteously, wires hanging from my hand like dead snakes, when I heard a god awful screech. A mad man was hurtling towards me.”
“What the fuck are you doing?” he yelled, without even a Pardon my French.”

“Bloody busybody, I thought.  I whipped around to see a loony man, hair sticking up as if he’d been hit by lightening heading for me like a line-backer? I snarled right back. Fuck off.  It’s my business what I do to my husband’s car.‟”

“It’s my car you old bag and that’s my radio,he screeched.”

“His eyes were rolling and his arms flailing. I put up my dukes.”

“You hit him?” Stanley groaned.

Moira whipped off her glasses to display her purple eye. “He hit me back. You should have been there to defend me.”

“For god’s sakes, Moira, I was in Burnaby.”

“You damn bugger,‟ I shouted back. I‟m old enough to be your mother and you hit me.”

“What next?” Stanley squeaked.

“Some bloody do-gooder called the police.  It was chaos: crazy with people coming out of the woodwork to join the fray.”

“What did they do?” her husband whispered.

“I told the policeman it was an honest mistake but the bugger sided with the crazy guy.”

“But they let you go?”

“Sure, but you have to come to the station with me tomorrow.”

“Me? Why me?”

“To explain the car.”

~ Melodie Corrigall

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