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  • Josh Dale

Rain and oil

By Josh Dale





Your car breaks down on the interstate at 5:30 AM. It’s pouring rain when I get the call, but I

leave anyway. I drive onward, barely a soul braving the storm, to your pinned location. I pull up

behind a state trooper. He busts out some flares, says, “I’ll check back in an hour.” You hop in

my car, thank me. I say. “You owe me a breakfast sandwich and coffee.” You say, “Too bad I

didn’t bring back BBQ in my carry-on.” The flares blaze in the rearview, holding out against the

unstopping rain. Hazard lights blinking a rhythm unseen to us. To pass the time, I put on the

“how is prangent formed” video. We’ve all seen this stupid video in high school, and it never

gets old. The audio bolstered through the car speakers. It’s a way to feel at peace beneath the

savage deluge. We’ve been friends for years; we joke about this stuff. The random

commonalities of life. 30 minutes pass, then another. The flares burn out and the traffic gets

dense. You spot vivid lights in the mirrors, say, “Finally, the tow truck is here.” But it is not a

tow truck, it’s something larger. The red semi, with a full load, jackknifes around the bend. It

veers closer to our unmoving duo of cars. The video doesn’t buffer. Our laughter drowns out the

screams of rain and oil. “Kind of want that BBQ,” I say. It’s better than what’s to come.


Josh Dale does well with cats and misses Daylight Saving Time. He holds an M.A. from Saint Joseph's University, and his work has been published in Drunk Monkeys, Breadcrumbs Mag, Maudlin House, Rejection Letters, The Daily Drunk, and winner of the 2021 Loud Coffee Press micro-fiction contest. Find him on his website joshdale.co and on Twitter & Instagram @jdalewrites.