“No, my wife doesn’t drive this car.”
She watched her husband, martini glass in one hand, phone in the other, while he gushed about his new toy, a Mercedes AMG GT R. A piece of steak speared on fork tines lay forgotten while he paced,
“The paddle shifters, too complicated, you see…What? No, love them—revolutionized car racing.”
Her lips twitched and she felt a tail brush against her stockinged calf.
That evening, at the nearby German border, the officer waved the Mercedes through without a glance. The driver, a tuxedo tomcat, named Alastair, steered the car. The woman in the passenger seat opened the window and stretched her hand into the summer air.
Alastair, purring, tapped the paddles beside the charcoal leather steering-wheel, shifting gears. The Mercedes accelerated toward the federal motorway ramp.
“Not yet,” said the woman. The AMG joined the empty autobahn, the only one worldwide without speed limit.
“Now,” she said. “And I’ll get to drive back.”
Alastair set the machine free. The night-wind watched in awe as the silver car flew.
The following morning, back home, the woman looked up from her iPhone and said to her husband,
“The ashes are ready.”
“You know I can’t come.” He stood at the apartment door, briefcase in his hand, “Have meetings all day.”
She blinked once, gave a curt nod. The door closed. In the afternoon, she drove to the crematory, where she a received a bag, tagged Alastair, containing a wooden urn.
Due to her curiosity about oral traditions of Asian and European societies, Petra pursued a master’s degree in cultural anthropology and history at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States in 2001, she worked as bookseller and library technician.She completed fiction and craft workshops at the Writer’s Center in Washington DC, at Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York, and at One Story Magazine.To write with peers, share and receive feedback, she is a member of these writing groups: Flash Prose, Show Up, and Amateur Writers of Basel
In 2021, she participated in the yearlong education program Writing Circle at One Story magazine. She lives in Basel, Switzerland with her husband, Hiram.