By Jody Julkowski Nelson
“Geez! The fog is thick this morning.” I said out loud as I drove the back road to work. A news bulletin reported a crash on the 101 this morning. It would be hours before the highway was open again. “Well,” I mused to myself as I passed a farm stand, “I’ll be one of the few on time.”
Suddenly, a bright green piece of paper hit my windshield. It was small and the wind blew it off. Another one immediately replaced it, impairing my view. My wipers would not dislodge it. “Oh, for heaven’s sake!” I said and pulled off to the side of the road. I got out of the car, grabbed the slip of paper, got back in the car, and tossed it on the passenger’s seat.
That afternoon, as I got in my car to go home, I noticed the little green piece of paper. It was a Post-it ote, 4” x 4” square. Written on it was a short shopping list: milk, bread, tomatoes and salad dressing. Placing the small list in the cup holder, I decided to retrace my morning drive to pick up some strawberries at that farm stand.
Minutes into the drive there came another green Post-it, sticking on my driver’s side window. “This is strange,” I thought to myself. “This is close to where those two landed on my car this morning.” As I pulled over and got out, I noticed many more sticky notes on the main road and scattered on the dirt that created a shoulder between the road and an irrigation ditch. Some had stuck on a group of trees that lined the shoulder.
I picked up as many as I safely could, muttering about people littering. None had any writing on them. I got back in my car and continued on my way home. Once there, laden with my purse, and a half flat of strawberries, I dropped the sticky notes on the hall table.
While getting dinner ready, I watched the local news. As I made a salad, a reporter was detailing the incidence of a missing person. As I watched, he turned to an elderly woman who was in tears. “I just can’t imagine where Russell disappeared to,” she said, wiping her eyes with a tissue. “He said he would go to the store and be right back! It was so foggy; I didn’t want him to go, but he insisted, so I made him a list,” and she held up a bright green Post-it note.
The list! I ran to the hall and found the Post-it with the list on it. It must be his list! I called the police and told them about the multitude of notes I had found and their location. “It was right by the stand of trees,” I said.
The next evening my phone rang. A parched voice asked, “Is this Monica Taylor?” The police had found Russell. He was calling to thank me. “The fog was so thick I couldn’t see the road and drove into the ditch. I didn’t have a phone and my leg was hurt. The only way I could think to alert someone for help was to throw the sticky notes out the sun roof of the car.” “That was pretty clever,” I said. “I’m so glad you’re okay!”
The next week I took a drive up the coast. After an hour, I pulled off the road to take some pictures. Walking back to my car, I noticed a bright pink piece of paper stuck on my windshield.
Jody Julkowski Nelson is a retired English teacher living on the Central Coast. She has been writing since 5th grade; has two blogs, an educational website, a previously published short story, and is working on her first novel. Jody is a member of SLO NightWriters, for writers at all levels in all genres; find them online at slonightwriters.org.