The Good Samaritan
Sully Minter noticed the car on the shoulder of the freeway and the young pretty woman with long raven hair looking inside her trunk. He braked slowly, pulled his pick-up truck behind the car some five yards, turned off the ignition, and got out of the car. As he approached the woman, she slammed down the trunk lid and turned. Sully could see the wariness in her eyes, a mixture of fear of his sudden appearance and her mind re-running all the terrible events shown on the television evening news about roadside rage, rape, and murder.
Sully smiled warmly, trying to allay her fears. “You having some car trouble, Miss? I’m happy to help if I can.” Sully, a husky six-foot fellow with brown hair and a baby face, showed as much of his bashfulness as he could. He did not want to alarm the lady.
His demeanor softened her looks of trepidation and she responded, “Oh, thank you, I’m not sure what happened. The car just started with a ‘knocking’ sound under the hood, and I thought I should pull off the freeway… My stupid cell phone needs charging and won’t work.”
Sully moved toward the front of the woman’s car. “Was it a loud knock that you heard or was it a soft pinging sound…your car looks new to me so it’s a bit unusual for it to have a loud hard knock.”
“It’s more a ping, I think, not really loud… My name is Nancy and I thank you so much for helping me.”
“I’m Sully and it’s my pleasure, Nancy.” He had reached the hood. “Can you release the hood latch for me, Nancy?”
Nancy rushed inside the car and complied with the request. She then returned to stand behind Sully as he pulled the oil stick.
“The oil looks clean and fine. When was your last gas fill-up?” Sully asked.
“Only thirty or so minutes ago, near Eloy.” The two were talking on the shoulder of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
After Sully checked hoses and other connections around the engine he closed the hood.
“My guess is you got some bad gasoline, Nancy. Low octane fuel can make the sounds you describe. Just make sure you get higher octane fuel and you should be okay.”
“What do the louder knocks indicate, Sully?”
“Well, from what I understand, they could mean gasket leaks, piston problems, and any number of things. Your car being new, that’s hard to imagine… But, you’re sure they were not loud, like a heavy hammer hitting metal?”
“Yes, I’m sure, Sully. It was more like a light hammer hitting soft metal. I’m sure the car’s okay now. Thanks so much for your generous help. I will get better gas next time. I’m sure that’s the problem – it was a small out of the way station where I filled up… Can I pay you something for your help, Sully?” She reached inside the car for her purse.
“Oh, no, Nancy, please… It was my pleasure to help you. Hope the rest of your trip goes smoothly without problems. I’ll be getting on into Tucson for some business, but it was really nice meeting you, Nancy.”
Then, Sully was gone.
Nancy sighed deeply, checked the trunk one last time, and returned to her seat behind the steering wheel. She was almost to the spot she needed to be before the damned pinging had started.
The ‘damned pinging’ was her husband she thought she had killed with the poison. Just before Sully arrived she put the wide electrical tape over his mouth and nose to stop his tapping. She was certain now that he was dead… His resting place awaited.
Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – 10/31/14
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