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I Think I Hear God

Published on September 2, 2014 by in Stories

While I was teaching at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas in the mid 1970’s, I loaned the jack from my Ford Torino to a student who lived in the neighborhood. When he returned it, he just tossed it in the trunk, loose, where it rattled around every time we hit a bump in the road or went around a corner.

This wouldn’t do, so one very hot afternoon, I decided I needed to store the jack properly in the trunk. Joel, then about 4, came and stood on the sidewalk as I struggled to get the jack on top of the spare, but under the carpet and under the spare tire cover. (This system was designed without concern for the humans who wanted to remove or replace either the jack or the spare tire.)

Joel was filled with questions, and for the most part I answered them patiently despite the fact that sweat was pouring into my eyes, my hamstrings were burning, and I repeatedly banged my head on the trunk lid.

“What are you doing, Daddy”

“I’m putting the jack back where it belongs.” I bang my head on the trunk lid.


“Because when Saito borrowed it, he didn’t put it back right.” I pause to wipe the sweat from my eyes.


“I don’t know why, I guess he was in a hurry.”

“How are you going to put it in right?”

“Well, there is a place that it’s supposed to go and I’m just putting it in there.” By this time, I had decided the only way to do this thing was to get into the trunk.

“What are you doing now, Daddy?”

“I’m getting into the trunk.”


“Because I was hurting myself bending over to put the stupid jack back, and I kept bumping my head.” Although my patience was wearing a bit thin at this point, I still kept a calm voice and didn’t enunciate any of the profanity that was running through my mind.

“How are you going to get out?” The last straw.

“God is going to come down from heaven and lift me out! Now please don’t ask any more questions, OK?”

Silence reigned while I finally replaced the jack and then started to look to see where I was likely to bump my head while exiting the trunk.

“I think I hear him coming.” This in a very small voice from my son.

“Who?” Although I was pretty sure I knew the answer.


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