by Tyler Wells Lynch
The wrecker was a converted pickup with blue-silver trim sapped beneath a spread of rust. Its jury-rigged A-frame towered over a bed of dusty orange j-hooks, snatch blocks, and collapsed beer cans, all tumbling in submission to the precess of a flatbed hauler. The straps and rusty ratchets quivered in a silent pitch as an old man with skin like boiled leather coerced a screwdriver into the latch of a corroded wheel chock. The whole scene unnerved him—the herniated engine block, the jagged smear of burnt rubber along the road shoulder, the twisted spires of metal caked in blood. It was enough to set the old man’s teeth on edge. A slip and his gnarled knuckles cracked against the hard plate of the wheel chock, cold metal chipping flakes of skin revealing pink. He snapped his hand and swatted the pain and shouted, “God damn!” His partner, along for the ride on his day off, asked what was wrong but didn’t demand an answer when none was given. The old man sucked the wound.