On the way to baton-twirling practice, Momma’s El Camino broke down, again. I wanted to scream at her, but if I did she’d just tell me to shut the fuck up and walk. Steam poured out from under the hood. Momma opened it and burned her hand when she touched one of the doohickeys, the one that looked like a radiator. A bus pulled up and a man with long black hair got out with a couple other guys. They asked if they could help and before we said anything they just started fixing the car. Within a few minutes it was running. Momma offered them five dollars, but they refused. As they drove away, I read the painted letters on the back of the bus: Queen Tours America.
“Freddie Mercury and his band. They’re performing in Memphis this weekend.”
“Who on God’s green earth is that?”
“Queen. They sing that song about opera, The Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“I don’t like hippies and I don’t like foreigners and I sure as hell don’t like opera.”
“They have the number one song in the world.”
The El Camino crept along Country Road 77. I was holding my breath, hoping we’d make it to the high school when the ‘Check Engine’ light flashed red and the car died in the middle of the road.
“This would never have happened if you didn’t need to be a majorette.”
I breathed and tried to not let her words upset me. “Should we push the car to the side? Anybody coming from the west wouldn’t see us until it was too late.”
Momma never answered, but we got out, and I pushed from the rear as she guided and pushed from the driver’s side door. The car was near the edge of the road when Queen’s bus drove by again. I looked up and saw Freddie Mercury driving. They didn’t stop this time, but he did toot the horn as if saying Hello.
Jeff Harvey lives in San Diego and writes flash fiction. Check out his writing at jeffhharvey.com Twitter: @jeffharveysd