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First Line Fridays: Heat Panic #FLF #fiction #amwriting


Thanks to Dylan of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting FLF.

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Credit:Thomas Shelberg via UnSplash

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Three hours into the desert [Sandra felt the jeep’s] engine choke and buckle, rolling dark smoke into the pale blue sky.

“Are you kidding me?” Sandra asked her husband Jim. “We’re going to the Grand Canyon something people do all the time from Vegas and the damn Barbie jeep breaks down? Don’t they maintain these things, check that they’re working before they leave us in the open desert?”

Jim gazed at his wife his eyes half closed. The temperature was a sizzling 45 degrees Celsius and growing up in Toronto’s cold winters meant he didn’t handle the heat well. Sandra’s harping made Jim feel that much worse, sweating prufesly in the leather seat beside her. 

“Jim, Jim? Are you even listening to me? How long is it going to take for them to send another jeep? Why is everyone else so mellow about this? It gets cold in the desert at night and what about the snakes and scorpions?”

Jim groaned out load and Sandra gave him a dirty look. “Sandy, its hot right now,” he mumbled. “We’ve no air conditioning and if it gets cold soon that would be great for everyone. I’m sure the tour company will find us soon. Our jeep’s Barbie pink as you say.”

“Oh and could you calm down? You’re frightening the elderly couples,” he said whispering into Sandra’s ear as to not offend the two couples nearby. 

Sandra gave Jim a weird look then continued yapping. The tour guides who had been on the radio the last hour with their company were now glaring at Sandra as they too sufferered in the heat and from her constant questions. 

The older couples had it the worst, Jim thought. No one wanted any of them to undergo heat stroke since the temperature  seemed to affect the four of them the most. Sandra’s constant complaining wasn’t helping the matter. 

“Simmer down, lady,” one guide told Sandra,”This happens sometimes. Another jeep is a couple of hours away, if you can control yourself until then.”

Sandra didn’t care, she kept talking. 

Jim was surprised when a lady in her seventies, named Meg, smacked Sandra’s face hard. So hard he could see the red outline of the woman’s hand on Sandra’s sweaty cheek. Sandra was so shocked she didn’t say another word except to ask for a bottle of water every couple of hours. 

Megan winked at Jim and said: “Nothing like a good smack in the face. I think the heat was getting to your wife. She seems to be okay now that I smacked her and that she’s drinking water instead of talking.” Jim laughed bumping fists with feisty Meg.

“Okay?” Jim asked Sandra later. 

“Yeah good now, just a little panic attack I think. The heat was getting to me.”

Jim laughed at this stroking Sandra’s back. 

The evening sky in the desert turned from twilight into glittering black with giant stars. All eight people in the jeep sighed with pleasure as the blistering heat cooled and they were awed by the fantastic celestial bodies. 

When another pink jeep arrived the next morning, no one complained about the heat or Sandra. Both problems had been eclipsed by the perfect temperature and the starry night viewed under them. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

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