Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Snap Judgement

by Janet Rene Snyder

"Lorne, Lorne! Turn the wheel! Where on earth did you get a driver's license?" I watched the large-boned, dark-haired woman guiding the man I assumed to be her husband into the RV site next to ours.

"Wouldn't you know?" I muttered to myself. "This huge Canadian provincial park and we get her next to us." I could have spoken aloud because there was no way she'd hear me. She was yelling so much at the poor guy that she could no doubt be heard in the next loop.

He flubbed his way through backing their trailer into the tricky, crooked site with her shouting at him the entire time. I was trying not to stare as I put our mat out and set up our chairs, but I couldn't restrain myself. What was he going to do when he finally got parked? Yell at her? Storm off? She must be making him crazy.

He shut off the car, shaking his head while he ran his hand through his hair. He took out a handkerchief and dabbed at his forehead. It was a warm summer afternoon but I figured that wasn't the only reason he was sweating. He unfolded out of the car, a tall man with rumpled clothing. What? I thought to myself. He's smiling?

He called out to the woman. "Thanks, Suzanne! That was a bitch!"

"It certainly was," she hollered back. "And you did your usual shitty job of it!" whereupon their laughter echoed across our campsite.

"As usual, I couldn't have done it without you," he said.

"I know! You almost didn't." More laughter.

I felt like an idiot. I'd been making snap judgments about her overbearing personality, about her poor husband being henpecked, about us getting stuck next to them, and they saw it all as funny.

I came out of the motorhome with the small table I'd gone in to retrieve and there she stood, smiling, thrusting her hand out toward me. I took it feeling her strong grip and noticing her no-nonsense stance. I liked her.

"I'm Suzanne Thomas," she said. "Your new neighbor. Would you two care to join us for a drink in, say, about an hour?"

"That would be great," I said, feeling a bit guilty. We'd been out on the road for years and had never received such a quick invitation.

We had the drink and then dinner because we were enjoying ourselves so much. At one point Suzanne said she worked as a school librarian at a junior high. "My first choice age group," she remarked.

"Why on earth would junior high be your first choice?" I asked, picturing bundles of hormones with faces attached.

"Because you can mess with their minds," she answered and threw her head back to laugh uproariously.

Janet Rene Snyder lives with her husband and yellow Labrador among the redwoods in Yorkville, California, near two sweet little girls who call her Grandma. This piece is an excerpt from a book in progress entitled "Living the Turtle Life."

Twenty-fourth Flash

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Time Is A Tiger by Joan Zerrien
The Balloon by Lynn Sunday

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