Resignation Transformed into Action.

(This is a challenge presented by my Red Dress Writing Club.  The key word is “Resignation”)


“I’ll be there if I have to sprout wings.”  Marvella’s steady voice belied her level of exuberance as she spoke into her cell phone.

Marvella listened to the Box Office representative. “The Rules and Regulations stipulate that the prize must be claimed, with your signature and photo ID, by five p.m. today.  Otherwise we draw again to find our winner.”

“I’ll be on my way as soon as my car is repaired.”  Marvella shivered in the crisp Prairie wind not warmed by the morning’s bright November sunshine.

Winning two tickets to the Leonard Cohen concert more than made up for this lousy sales trip, she thought as she walked back into the garage.  Now she faced a car problem.

She had been so thankful to reach a gas station with a garage mechanic.  The car had been continuously losing power as she progressed up the long hill.   When she pulled into the service station, the mechanic had greeted her by saying, “It’s your lucky day.  I just received a cancellation.  Bring it into the bay.”

Now she really needed to get home.  She stood in the entrance of the bay.  “Excuse me, Bruce?”

Bruce, the mechanic, came out from under the hood of her car.  “I was hoping it was just a dying battery, but it’s your alternator.  I’m gonna hafta order a new one.”

“Order one?  How long will that take?”

“At least four hours.  We’re three hours from the city.”

“Four hours?  Oh, that won’t work.  I have to be at the Arts Theater in…well…five and a half hours, by 5:00 p.m.  Otherwise I have to redeem two free tickets to the Leonard Cohen concert next month.”

“Wow.  That’s a drag,” said Bruce wiping his hands on a piece of flannelet bed sheet.

“There’s no way I can have your car ready in 2 and a half hours.   As you can see, this little berg doesn’t have any car rentals.  But…oh yeah…here’s something.”  Bruce pointed towards the cash register.  “Boy, it really is your lucky day!  A guy just moved here and was tellin’ me yesterday that he has set up a taxi service.  He left a card.  It’s there taped on the cash register.  Other than hitching a ride, I don’t know what else to suggest.  Meanwhile, you want me to order a new alternator?”

“Yah, go ahead.”  She headed for the cash register, opened her cell phone and dialed the number.

It is what it is.

Marvella finalized plans about her car and stood outside, waiting for the prescribed red, 1995 Ford Taurus that was to be her taxi.  While making arrangements with George, the taxi driver, Marvella detected a slight accent.  He said he would arrive in fifteen minutes.  That was over a half hour ago.

She wiped away tears generated by the cold wind.  She paced with frustration.  She called again, but only got his answering machine.  ‘It is what it is,’  she thought, wishing she felt acceptance rather than resignation.

When the Taurus finally pulled up, she quickly opened the door to the front passenger seat and slipped in.  “Hi, George.  Thanks for doing this.  But we really have to watch the time.”  She was concentrating on finding the seat belt.

“There’s no seat belt.  If you want, you can sit in the back.  It may be damp. I have been cleaning the seat.  There’s a blanket to sit on.  I’m in the middle of fixing that seat belt.”

Marvella stopped to look at George.  A man in his 40s, he was likely close to six feet tall.  His barrel chest did not host a large stomach, but gave the impression of  a stocky physique.  His dark blonde hair framed a ruddy face, slight shadow of whiskers and piercing blue eyes.

She turned and looked at the back seat.  Whatever cargo it had carried, the cleanup had not been effective.  She considered calling off the trip, but Leonard Cohen’s concert was too precious to forgo.  ‘No wonder his price was so damned cheap,’ she thought.

George said,  “I’m taking the old highway.  There’s construction on this main one just by the Turnbull Overpass.  It could hold us up.  You decide if you want to ride in the back.”

With a heavy heart, Marvella knew the clock was ticking and said, “Okay.  Let’s just get going.”

After an hour into the trip, a time spotted with long periods of silence, Marvella sensed an uneasiness in the man.

“Do I detect a slight accent in your speech?  Where are you from?” she said.

“I’m a Canadian farm boy.  Grew up in Manitoba.  I get kinda tired of people askin’ that question.”

“Sorry, George.”  Out of habit, she reached over and touched his arm for just a second.  “It’s just…you know…we Canadians are an interesting mix of cultures.”

“Maybe I lived around too damned many cultures.”  Marvella glanced at him to see if he was being humourous.  He wasn’t.

A little later, George reached over and took hold of her arm. “So you’re the touchy type, are ya?”

Marvella pulled her arm away.  He wouldn’t let go.  Dread spread inside her like heartburn.  She tried again.  She said calmly, “You better keep both hands on the wheel, George.”

“I’d like you to move over here and sit closer to me,” he said.  He pulled her towards him.

She twisted her arm out of his clutch.  Mind whirling, she realized he was a sick man.  An Oprah show flashed through her memory about kicking out tail lights if ever locked in a trunk.  She had to avoid becoming a victim.

The demanding man reached for her again even though he continued to drive.  Now he wore a pathetic grin, “Come on over here.  I’ll keep you nice and warm.”

Marvella knew the Turnbull area was fast approaching.  She had to convince him to get on the main highway.

“You know, George,” she said, “I’d really like to treat you to something special since you were kind enough to give me such a good price on this trip.  If we could get to the city a little faster, I could make some really special arrangements to show you how much I appreciate your generosity.”

Marvella prayed that there was still a shred of prairie boy decency in this man.  If  not, he could assume whatever meaning her offer held.  She had to get near the construction crew.

He reached over to her again.  This time, she gently removed his hand and returned it to the steering wheel.  Though it turned her stomach, she  rubbed his hand as though it belonged to a little boy.  She forced enthusiasm, “Let’s go to the highway.  Let’s get into the city faster.  Then we can have more time together.  Let’s go to the theatre together.  I’ll pick up my tickets and then we’ll be free.  Even if there’s a little wait at the construction site, we can make up for lost time on the highway.”

“You’re shittin’ me.  You’re playin’ with my head, aren’t you?” he shot at her.

“What have I said that sounds like bullshit?”

“You’re shittin’ me.  You’ve probably got some honey at home panting away right now, counting the minutes until you are home.  He’s probably thinking about doing the same stuff to you that I’m thinking about.”

Hearing the dreaded confirmation, Marvella said, “If I had someone waiting for me, I would have asked him to pick up the tickets.  Why would I have hired you?”

Marvella had driven this highway many times.  Her cell phone would have no signal right now.  She had to gamble.  “I’ll call the Box Office right now and I’ll give them your name.  You can be the one to sign for them.”

“Give me that cell phone!” he said.

“Okay.  I won’t touch it.  But I think you and I deserve more time together.”

“Give me the cell phone!”  he yelled at her.

She handed it to him.  He threw it out the window.

Marvella prayed.

A kilometer from the turnoff to the Turnbull Overpass, Marvella knew that the two roads almost converged.  She needed to get someone’s attention if he wouldn’t go to the main highway.

She considered her over-sized purse that held all her credentials along with her appointment book and toiletries.  She’d written George’s phone number in the book under the current day while she waited for him.  If the purse was hurled out of the car, at least her identity would be known.  Someone would find it and be smart enough to call the police hopefully.

Suddenly, she spotted Turnbull Crossroad in the distance.  She couldn’t believe it.  The construction now included this road.  She had a chance.  At quite a distance, a flagperson waved people through at reduced, but not slow speeds.

Suddenly George said, “I want you out of sight.  Get on the floor in the back seat.  Now!”

She grabbed her bag, slipped over the seat and slumped to the floor.  She listened to the construction sounds.  She prayed for good timing.  Suddenly she sat up and threw both back doors wide open.  She moved back and forth, making certain that at least one door was open at all times.  She hollered.  She screamed.  She yelled for help.  Workers stared at them.  She screamed more as her abductor tried to grab her while he drove.  She threw her bag at a nearby construction worker.

Just when she decided she would have to jump out of the car, she saw more signs and barriers coming up on a narrowed lane.  She couldn’t jump into them so she braced her feet against the open back door.  Signs flew in the air with each impact.  She continued yelling.  If she wasn’t rescued, she believed George would kill her.  She had nothing to lose.

In the middle of signs flying in all directions, she saw a man talking on a radio, pointing at her.  “Please God!” she cried.  The cars ahead of them had sped forward leaving a good sized gap in front of them.

George hit the gas pedal, but the Taurus only responded hesitantly.  A huge dump truck with tires bigger than the Taurus slowly pulled out across the road and stopped in the only path available to the Taurus.   George slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car and escaped through the vacant field like his shoes were on fire.

A month later, as Leonard Cohen sang ‘Hallelujah’ at his December concert, Marvella sat with tears in her eyes and thought, ‘You have no idea, Leonard!’  Her date slipped her a handkerchief.  He was the police officer who talked the Box Office into letting him pick up the winning tickets for her that day.

66 thoughts on “Resignation Transformed into Action.

  1. Wonderful story, Amy. I can so relate . . .

    On business trips, especially if landing after dark, I disliked taking solo cab rides to my hotel . . . I always wondered whether the cab driver would turn into a “George.”

    My solution . . . airport shuttles with lots of passengers. It took longer, but was easier on my nerves.

    I want you to revise the ending and have a beefy construction worker nab George. 😉

    • Mwah ha ha! I felt such relief getting rid of George that I happily left him in the hands of the RCMP – they always get their man! Yah, traveling as a business woman, I had some very weird, scary times in the 70s and 80s. Many of them came about because there were not that many women traveling on their own. I actually had to ask a front desk clerk at a Hyatt to change my room because he had yelled out my room number to alert a red cap. Not only did the lobby crowd hear it, so did the diners in the raised, open restaurant within earshot. He rolled his eyes. I stood my ground. I love the discretion now.

  2. I will be back to comment tomorrow, but I wanted to let you know as soon as possible that the link up didn’t work. I saw that you’d linked up, but when I clicked, it wouldn’t load your site. Can you try again? 🙂

    • Thanks for coming by, Cheryl. I traveled a lot, too, as a business woman. Fortunately nothing really awful happened, but there were a few times when I had to take steps to assure my safety. As a writer, I had the imagination… 🙂

      • I agree about the pair of tickets. The creepiest I’ve seen was that girl that helped the guy put a couch or chair or something in the back of a truck and he shoved her in the back in “Silence of the Lambs”. That causes a sickened feeling in my stomach everytime I think of that scene. You did great with your story Amy.

  3. Once again, you outdid yourself, always love how you take away my breath away during climax.. And just like the way I like, the bad guy ends up getting kicked in the rear.. Sheesh, everyone knows the ending, but why do they still keep doing it thinking they will get away with it.. OK, seriously, I hope Marvella and the police officer get married.. 😉 How romantic.. ?! Ahhhh!

    • Any man who would notice a woman’s tears and have a handkerchief right there is definitely a Keeper! Marvella seems like a smart enough lady to know that – even if she doesn’t always listen to her intuition.

  4. Hi Amy .. that was quite frightening .. I’d have hated to be in that position .. nearly happened hitch-hiking in Italy .. but fortunately boyfriend (asleep) between me and the truck driver! Still not funny though .. and you do wonder.

    We need luck in our lives .. in these kind of situations .. good story – really had me hooked! Thanks – Hilary

  5. I was reading this on the ferry coming home to Salt Spring… I forgot my surrounding as I was holding my breath wanting the construction workers to do something! What a ride Amy!

    • Oh hey…my friend. Good thing a pod of killer whales weren’t about to attack your vessel! I’m glad you are back, Karen. The island feels like it’s a little low on one side when you are gone! 🙂

  6. Amy! This is a WONDERFUL, swiftly moving story (probably not swift enough for Marvella, though!). The breathless feel increased with each moment, just as Marvella’s heartbeats ratcheted up! Thanks for a great read!

    BTW – I notice that I am comment #44! I am in awe of your wonderful and large following! Of course, if I wrote 1/2 as well, perhaps I’d have (almost) the same size following! No matter, I read and learn from such wonderfu l bloggers as you, and learning from the best, I hope someday to swap comments with as many readers!


    • Thank you for coming over for a visit and for leaving such a welcome and encouraging comment. If you knew how I wrestle with this writing bug…just keep writing Paula. I have a sign in front of me at all times: “Do it anyway!” Somehow it kicks my butt. Re the colour of your cast (noticed on Cin’s blog) being a healer, I would love to see, somewhere on the cast, a good dollop of deep green for healing and another good dollop of “noxema bottle blue” for comfort. Thanks, Paula, and heal with laughter!

      • While on “the casting couch” with the casting director next week, I will ask for both colors! Interestingly enough, my last cast following surgery this past August was pink, because I generally wear pink – it is, as my Hubs says, “my signature color.” However, from the very first day I got that cast, I wore (quite by “chance!?!) blues and deep greens! Godincidence again!

        The motto, “Do it anyway” has long been a favorite of mine, and is posted in several places around my house. Here it is in full, in case you, or your readers are not familiar with it (it has often been incorrectly credited to Mother Teresa. (She quoted it many times, but she got it from Dr. Keith):

        The Paradoxical Commandments
        by Dr. Kent M. Keith

        People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
        Love them anyway.

        If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
        Do good anyway.

        If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
        Succeed anyway.

        The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
        Do good anyway.

        Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
        Be honest and frank anyway.

        The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
        Think big anyway.

        People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
        Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

        What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
        Build anyway.

        People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
        Help people anyway.

        Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
        Give the world the best you have anyway.

        © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

        Have Faith Anyway

        To which I will add (at your suggestion):

        Writing can be a tough thing even for writers to do.
        Write anyway.


        • Thanks, Paula – I chuckle as I respond. Yes, I have this (Mother Teresa’s version) on my fridge. I love it. Thanks for the refresher – and keep writing…cast or no cast! 🙂

    • Just finished visiting your site, O Creative One! Talk about versatility. Which is your fav? I see Jamie is encouraging you to do the NoMoWo (or whatever :)) challenge. Thanks for swinging by and leaving a comment. Means a lot.

  7. Compelling story, Amy. We are so vulnerable. I had my car breakdown in the middle of the desert earlier this year. I shudder to think what could have happened if the people who helped weren’t the kindest. Nice writing, my friend. You do a good job of building tension.

  8. That was a scary story! But with a good ending. Liked the idea you posed early on, acceptance or resignation? Made me think. There is a difference. I’d like to think I do more of the former (?). She did good though by being clear about what was going on, resigning to it, AND taking action!

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