Neon Sign in the Sky by allie taylor
So I’m headed down the highway to a doctor appointment. I’ve already missed this appointment twice: once for a snowstorm, once because the flu was raging at our house. So I’m thinking, third time’s the charm.
I’m nearly halfway there, hear a loud noise coming from a tire. It’s a wide shoulder, so I pull over, check it out.
Yup, right tire’s flat as a pancake.
So I get back in, make a few phone calls, the doctor’s office first. They’re not exactly giddy to hear of my third last minute cancellation. Roadside assistance is on the way, but it takes almost an hour and a half to arrive. It’s a real bummer. First because I’m missing the appointment for the third time. Second, because I’ve got nothing to write with or work on. I hate wasting time. I rummage around, all I can scrounge up is a broken pencil and a used tissue. I meant to grab my knitting bag racing out the door but forgot it. That and my water bottle. So I’m sitting on the side of the road in subzero weather while the clock ticks.
Roadside assistance finally arrives. But first he calls my cell, asks where I am. I tell him. He says he doesn’t really want to drive all the way to the next exit and loop back, he’d rather back up the nearest exit ramp, and back down the highway shoulder to me. I tell him I can just see the exit in the distance, but it’s a long way off. It’s too far, probably not safe.
He says ok, hangs up. Pays no attention to me. Because next thing I know, a car’s backing UP the long winding shoulder of the exit ramp, then backwards towards me about a thousand feet on the highway shoulder. Bizarre. Not even a tow truck, just a regular car. I’m no policeman, but surely driving backwards up the exit ramp and a thousand feet backwards down the highway is illegal. Or should be. Can’t make a citizen’s arrest now though. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” (Or changes your tire.) He comes to the window, explains he decided to back up the exit anyway. (Really?) Hope he fixes tires better than he drives.
He pulls out the spare, takes off the flat. Tells me I’m missing a lug nut on the wheel, do I know that?
“No, is it dangerous?” I ask.
“Nah, you’ll be fine,” he says. (I consider his driving.)
He finishes the job, stows the flat in the trunk. I sign the papers, he’s on his way, thankfully driving straight ahead. Now that I’ve missed my appointment, need to get off on that exit ramp, the one I’ve been staring at for the last hour and a half, so I can flip around toward home.
I pull off the exit, wait behind a van at the red light.
You’re not going to believe this. Guess what the license plate in front of me says?
You can’t make this stuff up. Who has a license plate that says “lug nut”? I stare, mouth ajar. Then kick into action, whip out the phone, snap a picture. But it’s through my salty windshield, comes out too dark.
I’m not superstitious, but seriously, what are the odds? You better believe I saw that Neon Sign in the Sky and I’ll be having that fifth lug nut replaced. Today.
Ever seen a neon sign in the sky? Tell us about it today.
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