I’m making good time; flying down route nine like the hounds of hell are chasing me. It’s been miles since I’ve seen a house or store or anything but trees when the engine starts rebelling. A terrible metal on metal symphony tells me the engine is dead. I’m still about a hundred miles from the airport. If I’m late my girl friend flies to Paris and out of my life, probably for good. Why did I have to be such an ass. I should have known better than to Facebook an apology. The six pack of Guinness must have clouded my judgment. She took my post as a slam and said goodbye.
There’s 100 miles stopping me from telling her how sorry I am and asking her to marry me. An act of desperation I can live with. Assuming I can get there in the next four hours. It would have been plenty of time if not for the damn car. The engagement ring in my pocket sticks into my leg like an annoying little brother, poking at me, reminding me I’m stranded in the middle of nowhere. I put the car in neutral and start pushing. A small town comes into view as I round a corner. It’s slightly uphill but love has a way of giving you a little extra strength when you need it. The tires crunch gravel as I roll into the garage. A young man ambles over. He pulls a toothpick from his lips and flashes a friendly smile.
“Out of gas?” he asks.
“No, the engine died. It sounded pretty bad. Can you take a look?”
“Yeah, sure,” he says as he extends his hand. “Name’s Dillon, but folks call me Duce, on account-a I can get most cars running again in a couple hours.”
“Well, that’s great Duce ‘cause I’m in a real hurry. I have to get to the airport before the love of my life leaves for Paris,” I say, hoping my story will cause him to take pity on me.
“Now that’s a challenge I’m up for. Help me push it inside and I’ll see what I can do.”
Together we push my old mustang into the garage. I pop the hood and we both peer inside. I have no idea what I’m looking at but Duce grumbles and nods his head.
“I can fix it,” he says with plenty of confidence. “Let’s see if I can live up to my name. There’s a diner around the corner. They have great blueberry pie.”
He’s right, the pie is amazing. It makes me feel guilty enjoying it though when I should be heading to the airport. I tell myself there’s nothing I can do. My fate, our fate, is in the hands of Duce. I try to pass the remaining time by reading the local paper but it’s no use. The clock is ticking and I need to be on the road. I decide to head back and check on the progress. I round the corner and see Duce elbow deep in the machine. Before I can ask he slams the hood shut.
“Just in time,” he says.
He steps to the driver’s side and slides behind the wheel. The engine roars to life sounding better than the day I bought it.
“Duce, you are a god.” I say as I reach for my wallet. “What do I owe you?”
“Oh, let’s call it two hundred.”
I hand over my credit card and follow him into the office. He runs it and hands it back. I pull out a fifty to tip him for his help.
“I can’t thank you enough. If I leave now I can still make it.”
With a face splitting grin I jump behind the wheel, turn the key and shift it into gear. I smash the pedal to the floor and the engine races. It takes a second to realize I’m not moving. I frantically shift in and out of gear again. Still nothing. My transmission is gone. Duce is still in his office. He doesn’t know. I jump out of the car and race back in.
“Duce, the transmission isn’t working, I need you!”
“No, man. You need a miracle.”