SPOTLIGHT: ‘Wheels’ flash fiction by Zvi Sesling

Stolen Car

                There was the time my Mustang had some problems and the shop wanted more than five hundred dollars to repair.  At first they told me it would be between one hundred and one fifty dollars which was an affordable estimate.  But when they called to say it was done and it would cost five big bills I argued that was way above the estimate.

                “Listen, fella you want the car, you pay. If you don’t, I’ll sell it for what you owe me.”

                “But that car’s worth $3,200.  Even used I could probably get $2,500.”

                “Your problem fella, $500 or I sell it in thirty days.”

                “You don’t have title to it,” I said.

                “Don’t need none,” the shop owner replied, “just the bill for what you owe.  Thirty days, mister.”

                This was a job for Louie, a nineteen-year-old I knew, so I went to the corner where he hung out and told him the problem.

                “Yeah, I can get it for you, but it’ll cost about half of what you woulda paid the repair shop.”

                “You get me the car and I’ll have the money ready for you,” I told Louie.

                “Nah,” Louie said, “you gotta pay up front. I get caught doing anything around there the dough will pay for the lawyer.”

                “And if you can’t get the car?” I asked.

                “You’re out the bucks,” Louie said. “I usually don’t get caught.”


                “Got caught once. Good lawyer got me off,” Louie said.

                After a bit of haggling, we agreed on one hundred dollars. He drove me to the bank; I withdrew the money and he drove me home.

                The next morning at seven Louie pulled up in front of my apartment, rang my bell and pointed to the car. It had a two-dollar parking ticket under the windshield wiper.  

                “Your ticket, Campbell. It’s dated yesterday at three p.m. right at this meter. If I were you I’d put a couple dimes in the meter right now.”  Louie laughed as he left. “Oh, here are the keys,” he said tossing them to me.

                At eight-thirty I was battling traffic on Storrow Drive trying to get to work before nine when a State Police car with flashing blue lights came up behind me. Despite there being no shoulder to pull over I stopped as far to the right as I could, rolled down the window and put my hands on the steering wheel.

                The trooper came up to me and said, “I have a report this is a stolen vehicle. Do you have a driver’s license and registration?”

                “Of course, officer.” I pulled my wallet out of my back pocket and gave him my driver’s license..

                He looked it over, looked at me and asked, “And your registration, please.”

                “It’s in the glove compartment.”

                “Take it out please,” he said, putting his hand on his gun.

                The trooper compared the license and registration, then said, “It all seems in order.” Then asked, “Why do you suppose your car is reported stolen?”

                “Probably a student pulling a practical joke. I teach at Boston University and maybe I didn’t give him a high enough mark,” I said.

                “Kids,” the trooper said shaking his head sadly. “Have a nice day, sorry to have bothered you.”

                “No problem,” I said and drove off.


Lew Odell is dispatched to Paradise, Maine and is told by his manager that the small fishing community needs more large lobster traps to meet their monthly quota.  Eager to see the Maine seacoast Lew takes in his briefcase, an order pad, two pens and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is a three-hour ride and he gets to a fork in the road in just under that time. At the side of the road there is a man selling Maine blueberries so Lew stops and asks him, “If I continue straight ahead do I get to Paradise?”

The man looks up and says, “Aye, ya, five miles.”

Lew thanks him and in a half hour on the small back road is in Paradise. He quickly finds the manager of Lobsters, Inc. and takes an order for sixty new traps.

“Going back to Boston,” the manager asks?

“Why yes.”

“Noticed you came in on North Main Street. When you leave here, go thataway”, he says pointing to South Main Street.  “Go about a mile, take a left and it will bring you to the highway.”

Thanking him Lew follows the directions which bring him back to the man selling blueberries.  He stops and rolls down his window. “I was here a while back and asked about directions to Paradise. I asked if it was straight down the road and you said yes. It was five miles going north. But it was only a mile and a half going west”, Lew says.

“Aye, ya, you only asked if going north would take you to Paradise.”

Advantage To Being A Senior

On a warm, sunny Tuesday morning Sam drives down Commonwealth Avenue enjoying the sights of the Boston University coeds walking to class in shorts and t-shirts. At a red light a man probably in his thirties jumps out of his car and pounds on Sam’s window.  

Calmly, Sam exits his car standing eye to eye with the man asks, “What’s wrong?”

                The man screams, “What’s wrong?  You cut me off back there you stupid son of a bitch and nearly scared the life out of me.”

Sam apologizes, “Oh, I am sorry, I guess I didn’t see you when I changed lanes.”

The man yells some more, “You guess! If you weren’t an old man I’d punch you out.” He makes a fist to show he means it.

Sam says, “You know it’s a felony in Massachusetts to hit someone over sixty and I’m seventy-two.”

“Really?” The young man drops his hand to his side.

”Yes,” Sam says, but it’s only a misdemeanor for me.


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