From the Sky - Part XII

During its brief existence, the pool of water is still capable of ruining cars. In fact, a few days before the jet engine fell on Uncle Gio there was a storm that brought enough rain to briefly flood the intersection. Aunt Zia was on her way home from the grocery store, driving faster than she should as she always does, and the pond ate her little Ford Focus. She hydroplaned, skidded sideways and hit a telephone pole, cutting the car in half like a child cuts paper with safety scissors. Not a scratch on Zia. She called my father to pick her up. When he got there the water was gone. He saw her demolished car and dashed across the street and through the small crowd milling at the scene. He found Zia talking to a policeman and kicking the left front tire of her ruined Ford in disgust.

"Zia! Are you hurt!"

"I'm fine," she said, kicking the tire once more and cursing her car. "I want to go home now. Please open the back door of your car for me, Paulie. I've got groceries."

Zia walked over to the severed rear of her car and retrieved her grocery bag, also intact with not so much as a cracked egg from the whole misadventure (though a single unscathed grapefruit had somehow ended up in the middle of the street). She squatted and picked up the wayward citrus fruit, then put the bag in the back seat of my father's Oldsmobile. She climbed into the passenger seat next to him and began peeling the grapefruit.

"How can you eat those like that, Zia?" Paulie asked. "No sugar or syrup to take the edge off!"

Zia just shrugged and popped a grapefruit section into her mouth as her brother pulled away from the curb. They drove a few blocks in silence.

"Now maybe you'll finally slow down, Zia," my father sighed as they pulled up to a light. "You drive like a maniac!"

"So what do you want me to do, Paulie? Drive like Sal or Rae? They drive like hundred year-old nuns on their way to confession, avoiding potholes like they are mortal sins. Cars queue up behind them for half a mile."

"You could have been killed, Zia! Certainly you learned something from this!"

"Here's what I learned, Paulie," she retorted. "Don't buy teeny-tiny little joke cars. They spin like toy boats in a baby bath. Buy cars with balls."

So Zia drives a big, fat Cadillac now. She hasn't slowed down a bit. The physics of hydroplaning count for little with my aunt. She has a car with balls to wrap around a telephone pole next time, and that makes her feel safe.

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