Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about icy days by Annie Dawid.
Annie Dawid teaches online for the University of Denver, University College graduate creative writing program. She writes and makes art in the Wet Mountain Valley of South-Central Colorado, where she raised her formidable son.
Annie Dawid’s fifth book, Put Off My Sackcloth, was published in 2021 by The Humble Essayist Press. It was runner-up in the Los Angeles Book Festival 2021 autobiography category, and finalist in the Book Excellence memoir category and the Rubery International Book Award non-fiction category. Previously, her short story ‘Kenny, Winking’ won the 2022 ChipLitFest Short Story Contest and her novel York Ferry won the 2016 International Rubery Award in Fiction.
‘Comedy of Errors at 9,100 Feet’ follows a woman as she encounters a series of problems in winter.
Getting my son to school, the comedy of errors begins. Because the locking mechanism on my Subaru has frozen, the rear door won’t open unless I do it from the outside. I pull the parking brake, step out and find myself spread eagled on a sheath of black ice. Whenever I turn off the radio, the doors lock, and if it’s below zero, the doors lock repeatedly as I drive.
Cabin-bound, all windows shut, I drive to my neighbour’s road, which they allow me to use, since mine is impassible. Due to high snowbanks, the gate will open only downhill, and I have parked too close. With the driver’s door open, Rafe and Fanny have seized the opportunity to exit and sniff the tumbleweed. As we are still a mile from home, I sternly order them back in the car before backing down the road to start over.
Again, I exit the car, this time shutting the door behind me. When I return to the car, it’s locked. As it’s Monday morning, I’m not likely to find anyone at home. I walk around the car, its engine running, and check the locks. All are shut, windows too, but since the mechanism is so screwy, maybe the lock will give if I tinker a little.
So I do, clicking the driver’s door handle in and out, ESP-ing my mutt to open the lock, but, of course, she doesn’t. After thirty seconds vigorously jostling the handle, it comes off in my hand. I feel like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. What next?