Sunlight faded as the night sky rolled in. Lilah’s stepfather appeared outside her driver’s side window, casting a shadow on her mood like the graying clouds that overtook the crisp blue of a beautiful spring day.
“Yah ready fah me?” He smirked. She rolled her eyes and turned the key as he ran around and jumped in.
The car stalled and came to a jerking halt for what had to be the thousandth time. This is what she had to look forward to over the summer. Driving lessons with Gary.
She supposed she was fortunate to have someone to log practice hours with and lucky he decided to give her his old clunker. Piece of shit that it was, it was a car at least. But why did it have to be a stick?
“That’s it. I quit. I can’t drive a stick.”
“Not what I heard.”
She cringed. “Whatever.” Slime ball.
She turned the radio on full blast and began biting her nails. Gary scanned her up and down, lingering at her chest. She felt a strong desire to gouge out his eyeballs. She inspected her jagged nails. Might actually inspire me to grow them out.
He finished off his ‘Nastygansett’, crushed the can, and chucked it out the window.
This sucks.
He would no doubt have a comeback for that one. Do you spit or swallow? She kept the negative remark to herself. She would so gag if he asked her that. This kind of exchange was typical of Gary so she had learned to avoid conversation with him at all cost. She couldn’t understand what her mother saw in this shitbag.
My stepfather is trying to hit on me. What a desperate douche nozzle.
Once again, she pressed the clutch, turned the ignition, and jammed it into first. She carefully stepped on the gas as she let off the clutch slowly. The car hitched forward several times, jolting them back and forth in their seats.
Thank gawd for seat-belts or I’d be in his lap right now. She shuddered at the thought.
“I’m never gonna get the hang of this.”
“Givah some gas!”
“I’m trying!”
At last, getting just the right balance, she eased completely off the clutch and into a smooth take-off.
I’m driving a manual fucking transmission!
She laughed, almost forgetting the dickhead in the passenger seat.
“I’m doing it!”
She caught that look of his out the corner of her eye, but he let that one slide.
“Yah doin’ good. Don’ fahget ta shift.”
The engine whined.
“Oh yeah.”
She put it into second, then third, picking up speed on the open road. She was actually driving a stick.
She shivered when she felt Gary’s eyes bore into her again and she wished she were anywhere but on a back road in the middle of East Bumfuck. With him.
It was getting darker out. She flicked on the headlights.
“I needa get me a nice young thing like yahself. Yah mothah showah never gives me none.”
Her grip tightened on the wheel as her heart lodged in her throat.
Her rancor toward him grew with each word that spewed from his Nastygansett mouth. He belched and the stale skunk piss stench filled her nostrils. Her heart overflowed with disgust for this man. He reached down for the lever between his legs and reclined his seat, adjusted his “junk”, then popped open another can.
Not getting any. I wonder why.
Lilah had never before been in such a hurry to get back home. She downshifted and punched it. She wanted to punch him.
“Taker easy theyah, Leadfoot.”
Fucker, you wait. One day…

One day, I’ll show you lead.

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