No One Told You
By Jack Rousseau

I took the car into the shop this weekend. The auto mechanic said “twenty-four hours” would be enough. I came back twenty-four hours later. It was enough. But the bill was steep.

I tried to pay with my Master Card.

Insufficient funds.

I tried to pay with my Club Sandwich Gold Card.

Insufficient funds.

I tried to pay with my Rolex watch.

Insufficient forgery. (It said “Rolet” instead of “Rolex” and it took me this long to notice.)

The shop refused to release my car, so I was without a drive on Monday. Luckily, Jaime works in the same office and agreed to drive me until I get my car back.

He was quiet in the morning, on the drive to work. But it’s the evening and he’s full of questions.

“What happened to the car?” he asks.

“They wouldn’t release it from the shop.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t have the money to pay for the repairs.”

“You have a job. Ask for a raise, or advance, or something...”

“A raise? I’m not getting a raise. My jobs a joke!”

“Get a new one.”

“It’s a job, not a t-shirt. Besides, I’m broke. I’ll take what I can get.”

“What was wrong with the car?”

“I don’t know... I don’t know cars. Something with the gear shift... like it’s always stuck in second gear.”

“Sorry I asked,” he says, eyes back on the road. “It’s not your day.”

“It’s not my month...”

“Or even your year!”

“That’s not funny.”

“Sorry,” he says, eyes on the road but I feel like he’s watching me from the corner of his eye, pitying me.

I don’t want your fucking pity! Goddam it! But I need the drive. I forgot what it was like to be without a reliable form of transportation. Carpooling doesn’t cut it.

I’m quiet for the rest of the drive. When Jaime pulls into my driveway, we both notice that the front door is open.

“You want me to...?” he asks.

“No, I’m sure it’s nothing,” I say, stepping out the passenger side. “Thanks for the drive.”

“See you tomorrow!”

I slam the door, cutting him off at “see you tom-” because I don’t want to hear it.

I watch him pull out of the driveway, wave with mock sincerity, and peel down the street. I check the front door. It appears to have been broken open. Inside, the house is in disarray. I step on shards of glass. I pass fist sized holes in the wall. My possessions, once carefully organized in drawers and shelves, now clutter the floor. But I ignore all of this, because I hear a faint sound, like static, coming from the living room.

The sound is coming from my wife. She is lying on the floor, fetal position, emitting the sound. I kneel beside her and listen. Through the static, I recognize The Rembrandts hit nineties song: I’ll Be There For You.

I put the rabbit ears on her head and wait for better reception.

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Just as common people consume food and produce waste, Jack Rousseau consumes absurd details of everyday reality and produces irreal fiction. He lives and writes somewhere in Canada.

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