Some Days Are Better Than Others

Today’s writing prompt:

You start a new job in the morning. It is your dream job. Your friend calls you and asks for a ride to the other side of town to visit his girlfriend in the hospital. You take him but when it’s time to come home your car has been stolen.

I was really excited. I had prepared for years and tomorrow my dream was coming true. I was starting my new job as a computer game developer. I ate dinner and washed the dishes. I checked my email. I decided to go to bed early so I headed for my bedroom. That was when the phone rang.

“Hello, Tim?” It was my friend Jimmy. “Did I get you up?” He sounded a little bit sheepish.

“No, I was just heading for bed though.” I said, hoping he’d take the hint.

“I’m sorry but I have a big favor to ask of you.” This didn’t sound good.

“Okay, ask.” I said, trying not to sound to annoyed.

“Sheila is in the hospital in Pottsville. I wonder if I could get you to give me a ride over there and back.” Pottsville was forty five minutes away on the other side of Reid mountain. Reid mountain wasn’t a very high mountain but it was as high as any around here. That would mean forty five minutes on the road over their and forty five minutes back plus any time that Jimmy spent visiting. But Jimmy was a good friend. He’d always been there when I needed help. I just couldn’t bring myself to say no.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be there in five minutes. Meet me outside your place.”

“Thank you so much, Tim. I really appreciate it.”

I could tell he was worried. He didn’t talk the whole ride to Pottsville. We pulled up in the parking lot of the small rural hospital. “I’ll get a cup of coffee in the coffee shop. Come and get me when you’re ready to go home.” I said. Jimmy disappeared into the elevator and I went into the coffee shop and bought a cup of coffee. I sat at a table and opened the book that I had brought with me to read.

I would have gone up to visit Sheila but there was an awkward distance between us. I had dated her best friend, Emily, for three years and it had ended badly. It was a misunderstanding really but Sheila took Emily’s side and we had both agreed to leave it at that. Jimmy had told me that she was just in the hospital for a minor procedure but she had asked him to visit. I knew she wouldn’t want to see me.

Time passed quickly. It was a good book. The next thing I knew Jimmy was coming in the coffee shop, ready to go. “How was she?” I asked.

“Happy to see me. She was worried about the procedure. I reassured her. She said to tell you thanks for bringing me.” he said.

“I’m glad to help,” I said. “Are you ready to go?”

“I reckon so,” Jimmy said.

We went out to the parking lot. It was almost empty. Pottsville was a tiny little town. I didn’t see my car anywhere. “We parked right here in the first row, didn’t we?” I asked.

“Right here.” Jimmy said, pointing to the space where I remembered parking.

“You don’t think they towed my car, do you?” I asked, worried.

“I don’t see why. Let’s ask them inside.” We walked back in to the hospital. The nurse at the desk looked up from a book as we approached.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“My car is gone from the parking lot. Do you have any idea what might have happened to it?” I explained.

“No. What does it look like?” she asked.

“It’s a black, 2008 Toyota Corolla,” I said.

“I haven’t seen it. You might try the police station. It is two blocks north on the other side of the street.” We thanked her and walked down to the police station. This isn’t how I wanted to spend the evening before I started a new job.

The officer behindĀ  the front desk looked up as we entered the station. “Can I help you?” he asked.

“Yes. I parked in the parking lot at the hospital about an hour ago in my black, 2008 Toyota Corolla. When I came out just now, it was gone. Could you help me find it?” I asked. The officer had been writing down the particulars.

“When did you park it?” he asked.

“It must have been around nine,” I replied. “We came out just now, about ten fifteen and it wasn’t where I left it.”

“I see. Do you know your tag number?”

“Let’s see. It has Alabama tag 42G58A4.”

“Yes. I see it right here.” The officer pointed at his computer screen. “The sheriff over in Winslow County reported it as being used in a robbery of a little gas station over in Barlow. Let’s give him a call.” He turned around and rolled his chair over to a table with a radio and a microphone sitting on it. He picked up the microphone and said, “Bubba, this is Ralph over at Pottsville dispatch. You got a second?”

The radio was quiet for a minute and then a deep booming voice said, “I got my hands full with paper work, Ralph. What can I do for you?”

“There’s a guy over here,” he said as he looked at me.

“Tim Albert,” I prompted him.

“Tim Albert that is reporting his black Toyota stolen. He gave me the tag number you reported in that robbery a few minutes ago.”

“Tell him he can pick it up at my office in the morning.” Bubba said.

“I think he needs it to get home,” Ralph said.

“It will be after midnight before I can get all the paperwork filled out. If he wants to wait around until then, I can release it to him then. It isn’t in the best of shape to drive though.” Bubba said. I cringed.

“What does he mean?” I asked.

“Is the vehicle operational?” Ralph asked Bubba.

“How far is he going to drive it?” Bubba asked.

“To Stapledon,” I said.

“Will it make it to Stapledon?” Ralph relayed.

“Probably not. He’ll probably need a wrecker.” I was crushed. This was my first car that I had bought new. I had taken such good care of it. How was I going to explain this to my new boss?

“Tell him don’t go to any trouble tonight. I’ll pick it up with a wrecker tomorrow.” I said. Ralph passed on the message. Bubba was appreciative. “What’s the best way to get to Stapledon this time of night?” I asked Ralph.

“I don’t really know. There’s nothing this side of Stapledon, not this time of night. You might get a ride with Joe, my brother in law. He works third shift at the recycling plant in Stapledon. Shall I call him and see?” Ralph asked.

“Yes, thanks.” I said.

We got a ride with Joe. We left Pottsville around ten till eleven and he dropped us off at my house around eleven forty five. Jimmy said thanks again and he was sorry my car got stolen. I told him it wasn’t his fault. I didn’t totally feel that way but there was no sense making him feel bad. If I hadn’t taken him to see Sheila, my car wouldn’t have been trashed by some crazed outlaw. On the other hand, we never know what’s going to happen in life. A meteor may fall out of the sky and hit you on the head and kill you.

Jimmy walked the six blocks to his house. I went to bed around one. It was going to be a long day tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s writing prompt:

When you get up one morning you discover that everyone is speaking some strange language you don’t understand. No one can understand what you are saying either.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.