The left back tire of Ms. Claudet’s car had a slow leak. In the summertime, it would hiss. In the springtime, it would whistle. In the winter, it would poot-poot-poot it’s way to flatness. But in the fall, the left back time of Ms. Claudet’s car would whisper secrets.
“Sadie has a crush on Christopher,” it would say, or “The next penny you find will be tails side up,” or even “the Dow Jones industrial average will be up twelve points tomorrow.”
Ms. Claudet kept a little journal in the fall, and she would bend down each evening when she’d finished the drive home from school and write down what the tire said.
One day, when the school day had gone particularly poorly and Ms. Claudet was totally exhausted, she bent down and put her ear next to the tire. “Left back tire,” she said, “I could really use some good news today.”
The tire whispered. It never stopped whispering, really, although sometimes the words it said couldn’t be made out, or were in some language that burbled with hidden meaning. But now it spoke clearly. “Tomorrow,” it said, “you will meet a handsome man who will steal your heart while you steal his.”
Now Ms. Claudet had planned a date with a man for the following evening, and so these were welcome words. And the next day she took great care in getting ready for her date, doing up her hair and makeup with careful slow motions. She got in her car and got on the highway, when with a pop the left rear tire of her car finally split right along its slow leak.
She cursed the tire, for failing in two different ways just when she needed it most, and she set about changing the tire with the less mysterious spare. Her makeup was ruined with sweat and her good dress had a grease stain on it, when a handsome police officer pulled behind her with his cruiser’s lights a-flashing brightly.
Written on 2/11/17 at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.