Working At the Car Wash
I loved sleeping at my grandparents’ house when I was younger. We got to stay up late. We watched awesome movies. We built forts. We ate ice cream. It was stellar. When I was about four years old I remember one weekend we stayed over my Grandmom’s. It must have been late Spring or early Summer. We did everything in the book for the perfect sleepover. We didn’t have a bed time. We ordered pizza for dinner. We made sundaes. The new Ducktales movie was on, and my grandparents had HBO AND the Disney channel (we had neither). I was in little kid heaven. We sprawled our sleeping bags out in front of the TV & made awesome-kid camp.
The next morning I remember I was so excited because my Mom had packed my favorite new clothes: My Mickey & Minnie mouse jean overalls that we had just purchased. I was ecstatic to sport this new attire. I was gonna strut my stuff around Northeast Philly and show everyone who was boss in my Disney threads. Lookout, World, Val was in town, yo.
We ran some errands with my Grandmother. Nothing too major. At that age it was still cool to be with her and hang with your brothers & just be out of the house. We probably ran to the grocery store, pharmacy etc. Then, she dropped a bomb on us: How would you like to go through the car wash? Well, everything just got real for me. I’d never experienced something like this. We washed our cars in the driveway with a bucket of soap & the hose. What the hell was she talking about “go through” the car wash? I lost my words, my thoughts, I had no idea what could possibly be happening. She drove us to the local gas station and we began our journey…
Keith:Back Driver’s Side
Valerie:Back Passenger’s Side
The giant monsters from above came down and smashed the top of the car violently. Soap sprayed from every direction. Water engulfed the entire car. We were driving straight into the depths of hell. I screamed. I kicked. I knew it was the end for us. Grandmom had us in a suicide pact. I didn’t volunteer for this! The hot grease sprayed. Keith just stared at me silently and watched my struggle. Frankie and Grandmom seemed to be enjoying themselves. What the hell was this nonsense? I even heard her voice calmly say, “It’s okay, Val, we’re almost done.”
“ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TRYING TO TALK ME DOWN RIGHT NOW? SERIOUSLY? IT’S NOT OKAY, GRANDMOM! DON’T YOU KNOW WE ARE ALL DYING IN THIS CAR! WE’RE GOING DOWN TOGETHER! I FEEL IT ON MY SKIN. I FEEL IT EVERYWHERE?! THIS IS WHAT THEY SAID WOULD HAPPEN IF WE TOOK JESUS’ NAME IN VAIN IN RELIGION CLASS AT SCHOOL. I TOTALLY REMEMBER THIS IS EXACTLY HOW THEY SAID I WOULD FEEL. WHY ISN’T EVERYONE SUFFERING THE WAY THAT I AM? WHY ISN’T EVERYONE PANICKING? IT’S SO DARK IN HERE. IT’S SO LOUD. I MUST SCREAM OVER THE MACHINE!!!! WHY IS KEITH JUST STARING AT ME? WHY IS NO ONE HELPING ME? I’M TRAPPED UNDER THIS TORTUROUS BELT LOCKING ME TO MY DEMISE! GRANDMOM HAS LOCKED ME INTO MY DEATH! I DIDN’T EVEN SAY GOODBYE TO MOMMY OR DADDY OR BLACKIE, OR FLUFFY. GOODBYE, SWEET SWEET WORLD. AT LEAST I’M GOING OUT IN STYLE IN THESE BOMBASS OVERALLS.”
I screamed for five. minutes. straight. I screamed my heart out. Till my little throat couldn’t take it anymore. I cried. I sobbed. I think my tonsils were on the verge of rupturing. Could no one hear me? Was I invisible? Why was everyone ignoring me? Was the car that important? I never want this again!!!
I saw light. We finally made it out the other side……..
My Grandmom turned around and then realized that my window had been open the entire time and I was covered in water, soap, & hot hot grease…..& Keith did nothing to try to help me close the manual window.