Marty shook his head as he looked at his truck. The back left tire was flatter than the state of Iowa. “Damn,” was all he could think, over and over, “Damn, damn, damn.” He studied the one inch wide, foot long piece of wood trim that jutted from the tire’s remains. “How?” It made no sense how a piece of wood he could bend with his fingers had been able to pierce the tire’s sidewall. “Damn, damn, damn.”
There was nothing he could do save haul the jack out from under the front seat, and lower the spare hidden under the truck bed. Using his cell phone he called the office, “I’m gonna be a few minutes late. Got a friggin’ flat tire.”
Marty never realized how flexible a human had to be to move the front bench seat forward as far as it would go, then lower the seat back, then lean over the bench seat, and reach under it to the jack that was clipped to the floor beneath the seat. He tugged at the clip. Then pulled at the clip. Then tried reaching the clip with both hands. More than once the silly thing half opened, then snapped shut when his fingers played out. It took him seven tries, but he finally heard the clip unlatch with a rather disturbing, “Crack!”
The damn clip had come apart, and he was staring at half of it, sitting in his hand. “Damn-it!” He threw the remains of the clip out of his truck, not caring at all where they landed, grabbed the jack, and pulled it free.
Then he realized he had to find the wrench that went with the jack, so he could jack the truck up, and unbolt the wheel. He climbed back under the bench seat. It wasn’t there. He stared at the jack. It had pictures on one side. The first showed the clip opened the other way than he’d tried. The second showed the wrench pulled from the jack, then the jack placed under the truck. He knew from the pictures the jack had to be carefully positioned to keep from damaging the truck body as he raised it up.
After studying the jack for what felt like hours, he finally saw the wrench wedged through the hinge openings in the jack. “Funny damn place to put that,” he mumbled. He grabbed the end of the wrench, and wanked.
“Ow! Fuck!” He stared at his index finger and thumb, as blood started slowly leaking from the torn skin on them. “God, damn-it!” That’s when he figured out picture that showed where the wrench was also illustrated how the wrench was locked in place by the jack until the jack was manually loosened by twisting the raising mechanism. “Stupidest damn thing I’ve ever seen!”
Marty twisted the mechanism a half turn. The wrench fell out. He glared at it as it rested in the driveway, then he wiped the blood of his thumb and finger on his pants leg. That’s when he realized he needed to change pants for work.
“I never knew how low to the ground this thing was.” Marty practically had to get on his back to see the notches on the bottom of the truck bed the jack was supposed to attach to. He carefully positioned the jack, then started raising away. He noticed the jack missed the notches when the metal started to bend.
Marty lowered the jack. Then, left it beneath the truck, the wrench still attached to the mechanism. He went inside, washed his hands, put bandages on his torn skin, grabbed a bottle of his favorite beer, and sat down before the TV.
“If ever there was a time when life sent me a message and told me not to go to work, then this is it.” He called the office, and explained he’d torn up his hand while trying to fix his flat, and wouldn’t make it to work that day. Then, he tuned the TV to the sports channel, chugged his beer, kicked off his shoes, and propped up his feet.
He stared at the replays of the good plays from last nights game, and felt himself drifting off to sleep, which struck him as a good thing. As he faded, he looked at the ceiling. “God. Wake me up when I’m famous, and don’t have to put up with this kind of shit.”