by Mark C. Wallfisch

“Can we please leave at 6:30?”  my partner Harvey asked me plaintively.

“That’s way too early,” I told him.  “We’ll be hanging around the airport forever.”

Harvey, who doesn’t understand the concept of getting to an airport too early, pouted.  As usual, I gave in.

6:30 came.  We put our bags and ourselves into the car, and Harvey drove us toward the airport.  He was ready for our flight.  I was ready to get a cup of coffee, buy a newspaper, and wait, wait, wait for our flight.

On the way to the airport, we chatted and listened to NPR.  As the news came from the radio, a loud blast came from the front of the car.  Harvey, his face immediately turning red and his hands gripping the steering wheel, held the car steady.  He tried his best to keep us going straight ahead.  Harvey put on the emergency flashers and let the car decelerate, and then he gently eased it onto the shoulder.  His driver’s ed instructor from decades ago would have been proud.

Safely away from traffic, we inspected the damage.  The right front tire had blown out.

A Motorist Assistance Patrol truck pulled up behind us with caution lights flashing.  Before getting the spare tire, Harvey leaned against the right front fender and grinned.  He beamed, he glowed.

“What’s wrong with you?” I asked.

Harvey took and released a deep breath, looked at me joyfully and said, “Thank goodness.  All these years I’ve been leaving early for the airport, and now it’s finally paid off.”

“Good grief,” I thought, “I’ll be hearing about this tire before every trip for the rest of my life.”

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