Tunnel vision

There’s nothing innately sinister about tunnels. Dr. Sigmund would even argue they’re merely sexual metaphors, but not necessarily evil. That is, unless you have other repression issues, but that’s a whole ‘nother therapy session.

I digress…

It started when we were talking about our Spring Break trips and Chris made such a big deal about the tunnels cut through the Smoky Mountains. Beth kept asking if he held his breath while driving through, then Kevin said his family just honked the car horn.

Of course, the more ridiculous the topic, the more heated their debate. Honk or hold your breath, lift your feet driving over railroad tracks, punch buggies. It was all so stupid.

Jan stayed uncharacteristically quiet until her silence sucked all the other conversation out of the room.

Everyone turned to look at her, waiting for an explanation – a silent, group “what?”

Squaring her shoulders, she declared she had never been through a tunnel, and she never would.

“I will drive 100 miles out of my way to avoid one,” she said, more a challenge than a
simple statement.

Being game for any dare, Kevin asked what we all wanted to know.


After bugging her until she finally gave up her phobia, she tried to make us believe that when she was a kid, her dad drove into the west entrance of Bankhead Tunnel in Mobile, and never came out. Vanished, car and all, like a cruise ship blundering into the Bermuda Triangle.

I already knew the truth.

Jan’s mom was first cousins with Chris’s sister’s best friend’s neighbor, who’s daughter dated my brother. Jan’s dad ran off with the chick working the front counter at the Blockbuster. That was just some crazy story her mom came up with, and tried to pass off as the truth.

Maybe Freud was right, and tunnels do represent va-jay-jays.

Trifecta, a weekly one-word prompt, challenges writers to use that word in its third definition form, using no less than 33 words or no more than 333. The week’s prompt is: Sinister [adj. \ˈsi-nəs-tər\] 3: singularly evil or productive of evil

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Glad Freud is there to help Jan trade one trauma for another.


  2. Trifecta says:

    I had no idea you had this voice in you, Tara.


    1. Tara R. says:

      I hope that’s a good thing…


  3. jannatwrites says:

    Tunnels are scary, but bridges freak me out more. This was a great piece, and I love how you did the round about reveal of what really happened to the dad. I give the mom imagination points for coming up with that story, even though it ruined her daughter!


  4. deanabo says:

    This is great. Its probably alot different than most of the posts on this prompt will be. I like that. terrific writing.


  5. haha, definently sounds like it came from the mind of a teenage boy.


  6. nrhatch says:

    Wonderful. A perfect tale of tunnels.


  7. dk says:

    “Chris’s sister’s best friend’s neighbor, who’s daughter…” Terrific. And, great story to be told.


  8. Lumdog says:

    I love this narrative style, like you’re having a conversation with the reader. And cool tie in with Freud.


  9. kgwaite says:

    This was neat – Love your opening. We would always hold our breath when we walked past the village cemetery so the ghosts wouldn’t crawl up our nostrils and into our lungs.


    1. Funny, I remember holding our breath when we drove by a cemetery, yet I also remember hanging out in cemetaries. Kid rules are so random!


    2. Tara R. says:

      Bwahahaha! Okay, you win the superstition sweepstakes.


  10. Brian Benoit says:

    This was pretty great, not too high stakes, not over-dramatic, just well done. (I understand her phobia though). Ha..vajayjays…


  11. Gina says:

    Loved the connections between everyone. In some cases Freud was right. Some tunnels are crazy and dangerous. Well done. We called it “slug” buggy.


  12. Papparaci says:

    Tunnels are very similar to the Bermuda Triangle, great story.


  13. I had no idea where you were going with this one for awhile, but I loved the chuckle I got at the end :)


  14. Annabelle says:

    I love how the spooky phobia comes down in the end to something as plebeian as Blockbuster. True of so many of the spooky things in life!


  15. Lance says:

    Bobina and I just saw a really bad horror movie with this idea behind it. I can’t remember the name.

    The Freud link and how you told the story of the cousins was great.


  16. lexy3587 says:

    I love the roundabout ‘how I know about what really happened with her dad’ thing… very cute :)


  17. Tracie says:

    I love how you brought the story back to the Freud assertion at the beginning.


  18. karen says:

    I forgot about lifting feet at railway tracks. The punch buggy thing maybe came after my time as a kid, but my children continue the tradition of holding their breath in tunnels. I always thought it was because the major tunnel out of Vancouver really is under water, as opposed to through a mountain pass. We once drove under it when a full-sized three-deck ferry was passing over from drydock. Kind of cements it in, you know?

    Anyway and off topic, what a great and intricate story, full of pathos and fun. We were never related to anyone (products of two only children who’s parents all moved away from where they were from) so I like the idea of that many connections. It also made me anxious.

    Fun entry. *shakes head* I need to have more fun.


  19. E says:

    really loved this piece! the part about first cousins… does this mean Chris dated his cousin once removed? (his mother’s cousin’s daughter)


  20. Draug419 says:

    I’ve never heard of the railroad/lifting feet superstition. o__O

    And I was always a breath-holder when it came to tunnels. This was amusing :3 Great job!


  21. Diane Turner says:

    Love this piece. I can see the narrator, flipping hands offhandedly, as she tells the reader the story. Thanks for sharing.


  22. Patti says:

    Funny one. I love the family-best-friend-date thing too.


  23. Ha! I love the lengthy list of second to third to fifth hand family members


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