By JT Pearson
copyright 2013 Joseph Pearson
January in Minnesota was no place to be driving without a working heater in their car but when Mary and her mother Carol had no money for repairs and no other way to get to work that’s just what they did.
“I can’t see anything. The Toad’s windows are fogging up too much. We’re seriously going to crash one of these nights.” The steady rain of snowflakes tumbling from the sky distracted Mary as she fought to concentrate on the darker patches of asphalt that occasionally peeked through the sloppy snow and slush that was piled on the road. Mary swerved back and forth, spraying parked cars and street fixtures, signs and lamp posts, sliding and gaining control again, finding the edge of the road just before heading into the ditch. Her mother was creating her own mini snowstorm over the dashboard as she scraped frantically at the interior windshield of the twenty year old Dodge they had affectionately named Toad for its hideous appearance. A dull flat crimson primer served as a paintjob and the doors were mismatching dirty scab brown. Brutal Minnesota winters and plenty of road salt added cancerous patches of rust that had eaten their way right through some areas of its decaying terminal leper-body.
“I caught Blizzard Bryant’s forecast. It’s supposed to drop to fourteen below tonight. It’s going to get really cold so let’s not spend any time stopping to check the car over unless we really have to. The quicker we can make it to Duluth the better.”
Duluth was where Carol had purchased Tyme Bakery, a rundown business on its last legs. She believed that with enough effort and with her daughter’s help they could resurrect the once famous Tyme. Duluth was also twenty eight miles from where they lived.
Carol wrestled the old window crank, throwing all of her weight into each rotation until the window sat half mast. ““If I can get the window down a bit, the windshield will clear up a little.” She sighed with exhaustion and it filled the car with a gust of steam. “I think that’s as much as Toad’s going to give us.”