A gassy incident
I could tell as soon as I picked up the phone that there was trouble.
"I'm having trouble with the car," reported my wife over her cell phone.
Within a nanosecond I began to take a mental inventory of the contents of our freezer. This might seem weird, but let me explain.
My wife has a long history of "grilling" deer with our cars. The count now stands at eight deer kills spread out over our quarter-century of wedded bliss.
When you hit and kill a deer with your car in this part of the world, it's yours to butcher. Or not, depending on the fullness of your freezer. Another factor may include whether or not you can convince the kiddies that Bambi was a cute woodland creature who also happens to be delicious when stewed with onions and mushrooms.
You know you're in the Midwest when you hit a deer and within moments a helpful passerby stops and asks two questions: "Are you OK?" and "You gonna butcher that deer?"
Making a mental inventory of our freezer was simply my way of preparing to answer to that inevitable question.
But a deer strike wasn't the issue this time. "I was driving along just fine and now the car won't go," said my wife.
For her the words "won't go" describe every conceivable automotive problem, from a dead battery to the vehicle breaking through the ice and sinking to the bottom of a lake.
But there was more. "When the car began to quit, I pulled onto the shoulder and this other car suddenly whipped over in front of me and a couple of guys jumped out and said 'Turn off your car, ma'am! Right now!' That's when I smelled the gas."
I automatically began to protest that the gassy smell wasn't me, but then I recalled that I wasn't in the car. I asked if she meant gas as in gasoline.
"Yeah. It was leaking out somewhere under the car."
I nearly warned her not to toss her lit cigar out the window when I remembered that it's me who sneaks the occasional stogy. I called for a tow truck, then motored out to the scene to see what, exactly, was going on.
My wife explained that just before this gassy incident she had taken the car through the car wash and had opted for the optional undercarriage wash.
I made no comment regarding that particular choice. I don't know much, but do know enough not to voice an opinion about females' choices regarding undercarriages. This whole area has been a mystery to me ever since I first heard Marilyn Monroe coo, "Isn't it delicious?" as she stood on a subway grate in the movie "The Seven Year Itch."
I arrived at the same time as the tow truck. The tow truck guy hooked onto the car, lifted the front end, then peered underneath. "Here's the problem," he announced as he grabbed a flexible plastic tube and slipped it onto something.
After he towed it to a safe place, I got into the car and it started right up. I then drove the car home and investigated further.
The flexible plastic tube was obviously the gas line. I tugged at it experimentally and found that it came off with only a modicum of pressure. I also found my arm instantly soaked with gasoline and in very close proximity to some very hot items under the car. I quickly moved away, deciding that the car needed to be seen to by a professional.