Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Flash Writing Challenge
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Alternator Blues

by Robert Treybur

When your car dies
You lose touch with daily life
The world goes on around you
But you are no longer a part of it

People drive past you - not looking - as you sit on the shoulder
Or walk quickly past you in the parking lot
Maybe they think it is contagious somehow
As you wait for the tow, almost invisible

The safety you take for granted is somehow shaken now
You are still you, but deep down you don't feel as self-assured
No so much as in danger as insecure
Knowing deep down that you have no escape anymore

You constantly look towards the horizon
Not sure which way the tow truck will come
Getting darker by the minute, first sky and now screen
Your Samsung glaring back at you - a cold gazed, handheld friend

I, too, know the feeling of being not there
I live in the forgotten creases of your roadmap, between the rest stops
People never see me, people like you
But I am always there, watching and waiting

I am in the headlights that pull up when all seems lost
Their warm glow the only friendly light for miles around
Daddy doesn't know you took his car, does he?
Single parenting can be such a burden, especially when they don't care

With trembling resigned lips you thank me for my offer
My tire iron and jumper cables both a blessing and a curse
I use them to raise the automated dead back to life
Before I bind and loosen you, until I think of something worse

…Five - feet two inches, 95 pounds, blond hair, blue eyes
Don't see too many models like that on these roads anymore
A dying (dead) breed… a collector's (wet) dream… a real (plucked) cherry
Too bad about the veneers… but I can always take those off myself!

© 2022 Robert Treybur

Robert Treybur is the pseudonym for an otherwise unassuming civil servant quietly living somewhere in the continental United States.

Find more by Robert Treybur in the Author Index.