The Drunk Car by Josephine Mundorf

She smelled of alcohol and cigarette smoke. The house was empty besides my aunt and I. My grandparents, who own the house, had gone out to a writing convention in Oakhurst for the day. They would be gone for a few more hours, It was only two o’clock.

“Hey Shan, can I go out back to look at the lambs?” My aunt, Shannon, had taken over the only T.V. in the house.

“Why would ya wanna do that?” her words were slurred more than usual.

“There’s nothing to do and it’s nice outside,” I just really wanted to get out of the house.

“Actually! I was gunna go get some gas for my car,” she pushed herself off of the couch and  turned the T.V. off.

There really is no reason for her to get gas, my aunt has no job and we live in the middle of nowhere. The closest gas station is thirty minutes away. The gas Shan gets will just be used up on the way back.

“You’re gunna have to come with me, can’t leave ya alone,” she slurred out.

“But I don’t wanna! It’s such a long drive,” I stubbornly said.

“You’re coming. Now put some shoes on,” Shan swayed as she walked down the hall, “I’ll even get you a snack at the store.”


“Shan! Shannon! Can I get this?” I held up a small bag of puff cheetos.

“Yeah, sure. Go grab a drink,” she waved me off and I went to get a blue icee.

Once Shannon paid for my food and drinks, she told me to go out to the car. It was hot outside and cool inside, so of course I whinned. I did it always. Sometimes my aunt would have me wait outside while she was still inside buying something. I now know that she would buy alcohol and cigarettes in those moments. Blissfully unaware at that time though, I drank my icee and ate my cheetos. Whenever this happened, we normally got home alright.

Shan smiled at me when she walked out of the store, then started to pump gas into the car. Once that was done we started on our way back home. It was already almost three o’clock, and we needed to be back home soon. She was driving a little bit faster than normal on the extra curvy road. On one side of us there was a slight rise in the dry land, the other side dropped down a few feet. Music was playing in the background from a CD. Shan didn’t like this song. She went to change the CD. It would be easy enough, I grab the CD and hand her a new one. I wasn’t allowed to insert the CD into the car’s player myself. My aunt, drunk as she was, dropped the CD onto the floor by her feet. Reaching down to grab it, Shannon’s hand on the steering wheel turned. The car swerved.

“Shan!” came my shocked yell. But that was a bad idea, it distracted her further and she looked at me in concern.

Her hand, without her realising, turned the wheel dramatically. The car went across the small road and started to roll, at least I think. I blacked out for a few minutes, but the car stopped and settled right side up. There was pain in my neck and chin. The seatbelt had done it’s job and kept me in the seat. Because of my shortness as a child, the seat belt rubbed against my neck and chin in the chaos. When I looked up, the windshield had cracks webbed into it, mainly on the driver’s side.

“Josephine. Are you okay?” my aunt asked.

I replied in a nod, but I wasn’t. I hurt and confused about what had happened.

“Okay. Okay. We need to get home somehow. Come on out of the car,” she directed.

The crash had sobered her up some. I unlocked my seatbelt and opened the door. My limbs were sore and it hurt to move a lot. I heard a door slam shut and looked over to see my aunt standing. She had small cuts on her face and arms from the glass of the windshield. When she walked in front of the car to get to my side, there was a limp in her step. Shannon had hurt her leg somehow. I didn’t look at the car. I didn’t want to see what had happened to it, didn’t want to know what I actually went through. We walked along the side of the road, leaving the car behind us. I just followed behind her. After probably twenty minutes of walking a truck came up from behind us and pulled off on the little bit of shoulder available.  

“Y’all need a lift somewhere? We’re on our way to Raymond,” the lady in the passenger side asked.

“Yeah, if you could? We need a lift to our house,” Shan started to explain, “It’s just a few minutes out from Raymond once you get in town.”

The people in the truck let us in and gave us a ride home. It was quiet, and they didn’t ask us why we were hurt. People in the country around that area are normally nice and don’t dig.


Later that night my grandparents got home. I stayed in my room. There was yelling from my grandma and my aunt for a while. Once they stopped, my grandpa came into the room and told me he was taking me to the emergency room to get checked out. All I know about what happened the rest of that night is that Shannon left for the night and didn’t come back. She had gone to holding for drinking and driving with a child in the car.

3 thoughts on “The Drunk Car by Josephine Mundorf

  1. You have done an amazing job of describing the external facts and actions while also giving the reader a keen sense of what this was like for you internally. Nicely done!


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