13 used to be my lucky number.
And Friday the 13th never scared me. But next time Friday the 13th rolls around, I’m not leaving the house.
If you look back at my blog, you will notice that I had car trouble and had to call a tow truck to haul me and my car 25 miles. I was without wheels for over a week. The piston stem came out of the transmission. I’m lucky nobody was hurt, because it shoots out like a bullet when the car is moving down the highway. I decide I should get a new car. Friday the 13th I’m driving to St Paul to pick up my new vehicle when in the middle of nowhere the piston stem goes flying off. Again. Once this happens, the car quits moving. I make it to the side of the highway, pulling to a stop in front of an old cemetery. No houses, no buildings, just the cemetery.
Wait for tow truck. Hot sun beating down.
Now here’s where it gets weird. Well, not quite yet, but soon.
First person to stop is a young farmer in a pickup. Curious kid in the passenger seat. We go through the need help stuff, got a cell phone stuff, and once he knows everything is okay, he leaves. Next comes a giant white Lincoln. By this time I’m outside my car, near the cemetery because it’s too hot to wait in the car, and too dangerous. Passenger window goes down. Blonde bombshell. Platinum hair, red, red lips. Car packed with so much crap it looks like she lives in it. I spot the case of beer.
“You okay, darlin’? Got a cell phone? Need some water? Want me to wait with you?” Once she’s reassured that everything is fine, she blasts off like someone from a Tarantino movie. Tow truck won’t be there for at least another hour, so I mosey down the dirt lane next to the cemetery where there is one tree and shade.
Big rusty white Econoline van pulls up. Wormy weird man inside. “Need help?”
I tell him everything is under control. Go through the waiting for the tow truck thing. He mumbles something, and takes off. I can see the van turn down a lane, vanish, then reappear at a farmhouse on a distant hill. Ten minutes later he’s back. Gets out, opens both back doors of the van, puts a folding chair in the shade next to the cemetery fence, and places a milk crate in front of it.
“Have a seat.” The van doors are just feet from the chair, and even though I know he’s going to hit me over the head and drag me inside the van, I sit down. I’m polite that way. But I feel for my cell phone, and wonder if I should discretely auto-dial a fave.
He adjusts the milk crate, and sits down. He touches my knee.
“I just want to ask you one question.” His face is inches from mine. “Where are you going to go when you die?”
I don’t own a handgun, but I keep thinking I must have one in the car. Surely I have a gun in the car. Or in my backpack. I keep visualizing it there. All nice and cozy.
“Are you going to heaven, or hell?”
“I don’t believe in heaven or hell.”
Oh, why did I say that? He’ll kill me for sure now.
“Just before you die, I want you to do one thing. I want you to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior. That’s all you have to do to go to heaven.”
I get to my feet, which is kind of hard with the wormy man right there. I don’t want to turn my back to him. He can see that I’ve had enough. He reaches into his pocket. For a gun? A knife? He pulls out a little religious pamphlet with his prayer line on it, hands it to me, gets in his van, and drives off, back to the farmhouse. I have a book with me – A WOLF AT THE TABLE -- so I sit down in the shade, open it, and read until the tow truck guy arrives. Damn Friday the 13th.