Short Story: Right Turn

‘How could you be so stupid, Fredrick?’

‘The Sat Nav told me to turn left.’

‘And you listened to it. Don’t blame others for your stupidity Fredrick.’

The same conversation had polluted the car with negativity for the last 45 minutes. Fredrick wanted her to stop, but he knew her too well.  

‘Now we are stuck in this build-up off traffic, for god knows how long.’

‘You think, dear, that the Sat Nav map would get it right.’

‘You know those things play up all the time. That is why you have a spare map with you. I expect you to be better prepared.’

      Fredrick flipped open the glove compartment and pulled out a large, folded map. He slapped it on her lap then he crept his hand towards the radio. 

      ‘What am I going to do with that? And don’t you dare touch the radio dial when I’m talking to you.’

       Fredrick’s shoulders drooped, eyes rolled as his hand slipped down the front of his car and back onto the gearstick.

       ‘I thought maybe the radio would have some information on the delay.’

      Cheryl went silent. Fredrick felt her stare burn a hole in his head. He hoped she could not read his mind at that minute. Two years he had put up with her nagging, negative attitude, and emotional bullying. She was always right, even when she was wrong. He knew what silence meant; a small victory. They were rare, but when they happened, he savoured the moment. He waited. Out the corner of his eye, he saw Cheryl press the button on the radio dial.

       ‘….. And there are lengthy delays on the Sheriffs Highway …‘ 

The radio announcer went silent. Cheryl had heard enough.

    ‘Lengthy delays Fredrick! Lengthy delays! I told you to cross over the McElligott River Bridge. Firstly, it saves an hour in travel time and secondly because the Sat Nav always takes you on some stupid route.’

      You know as well as I do that when it rains, those roads tend to flood.’

      ‘It was a few drops.’

      ‘It was 50mls!’

       Cheryl snatched the map on her lap and attempted to untangle it. ‘I guess have to get us out of this pickle.’

Fredrick sarcastically peered through the windscreen and checked the side and rear mirror. ‘Pretty sure we are stuck here for a while. And for my sanity, can you please let me put the GOD DAMN RADIO ON!’

       ‘No need to use that tone with me, Fredrick,’ Cheryl mumbled from behind the map.

       Fredrick pressed the on/off switch again.

        ‘Tragedy has wreaked havoc at McElligott River crossing, where flash flooding had destroyed the bridge, roads, and banks. Twenty cars were swept away in the rushing rapids, with experts fearing the worst.’

         Click! Silence. The map dropped from Cheryl’s hands and floated back onto her lap. Her face went as red as a tomato. Fredrick dared not move. The story horrified him, yet he fought hard to prevent a large smirk from forming on his face.

          ‘Lucky we didn’t go that way, wasn’t it, Fredrick?’

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