Skip to content

Week #4 (2023): I stomped on your fire, you choked on a biscuit

January 30, 2023

Yeah you read that right. This week’s prompt is a repeat from 2021 because it was so much fun: Write a story based on a Craigslist Missed Connection.

Thankfully, traffic was moving and they had plenty of time. Javier didn’t want to be late for this doctors appointment. His grandmother had been feeling “off”, which is about the extent to which she’d been able to describe how she felt. But she never complained, so Javier had taken her seriously and made an appointment with a doctor at the medical complex in the middle of town. Javier and Camilla, his older sister, both insisted on coming along to talk to the doctors. Their grandmother was 75 years old and sharp as a tack, but that didn’t mean she was familiar with medical jargon or would understand anything the doctor had to tell her. Her english wasn’t great. So, as they all traveled down the expressway, Javier driving his grandmother’s old silver bug, Camilla in the passenger seat filing her nails, and their grandmother in the back admiring the scenery, none of them expected to see the black Jeep 200 yards in front of them careen into the guardrail near Franklin and Harding.

“Dios mio,” came a soft voice from the back seat. Javier pulled to a stop on the shoulder behind the jeep and looked for a break in traffic before launching out of the bug and jogging toward the crashed vehicle. There was smoke billowing from under the hood. The driver’s side door lurched open just before Javier got there, expelling a woman. She stumbled and then came to standing. She looked at Javier with wide eyes and her mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. She pounded a hand on her chest.

“Are you okay ma’am?” Javier asked.

Just more pounding on her chest and fish mouth. Smoke billowed in the background, followed by popping noises.

“Are you… Are you choking?”

The woman frantically nodded her head, hairs falling out of her gray pony tail. Javier grabbed the woman’s upper arm to pull her away from the smoking car, but she jerked backwards into the side door.

“Listen, you need to move away from your car so that I can give you the Heimlich. I’m trained and everything, but your car looks like it’s on fire. Will you please come with me over there?” Javier pointed to the grassy shoulder behind them. The woman was clearly choking, and Javier knew that people did stupid things when they were panicking, but he couldn’t say it didn’t hurt that the woman was probably scared of his brown face and 6’2″ frame. Javier backed away slowly toward the rear of the car, hoping the woman would just follow him.

Javier’s eyes didn’t leave the woman as he shouted behind him, “Milla, call 911 and get abuelas fire extinguisher from the car and try to put out that fire.” He could hear Camilla rummaging through all the emergency supplies his grandmother kept in the car. He could imagine her tossing flashlights and flares aside, having to dig through jumper cables and cones, and reach past all the fluids a car could need to get at the fire extinguisher nestled underneath.

The woman followed him warily, her eyes getting larger. She made it to the back edge of the car before she stumbled. Lack of oxygen getting to her brain was going to make her pass out soon. Javier knew all the signs. He knew what to do. He’d taken the first aid training course required by the YMCA to work there. But she wouldn’t let him touch her.

“Ma’am, I know the Heimlich. If you turn around I can help.”

She shook her head.

“Okay, then can you please try to put your hands like this?” Javier showed her how to make a fist and wrap her other hand around it. “Good. Now just put your fist right there below your ribs and punch up and in as hard as you can.” There was no chair or hard surface for her to get leverage with, so this was the next best thing. While Javier explained and encouraged the woman with her increasingly weak tries at dislodging the blockage in her throat, Camilla whipped past him to throw open the hood of the car and went to town with the fire extinguisher.

The woman leaned against the back of her jeep, her arms going slack against her thighs.

“Ma’am, you’re going to be fine. We called 911 and an ambulance is on the way, but you’re going to pass out soon. Could you please sit down so you don’t hit your head when you lose consciousness?”

It came on fast. As soon as she’d sat down, she slid to the side. Javier managed to catch her before her head touched the grass. He spread her body on the ground and opened her mouth. He couldn’t see anything and he wasn’t a paramedic, so he wasn’t about to go rummaging around in her throat trying to pry something out of there. Instead, he started chest compressions to make sure that the woman’s heart kept beating until the paramedics arrived.

They were pretty close to the university, so it didn’t take long to hear the fire truck blaring it’s horn from down the expressway. The fire department paramedic took over directly, asking Javier questions about what had happened as he went. The paramedic managed to dislodge the object from the woman’s throat and she started breathing normally, but didn’t regain consciousness right away.

“What was it?” Javier asked.

“Looks like a biscuit.”

“A biscuit?”

“Yep, a fuckin’ biscuit. She was lucky you were here.”

“Yeah, well. She’d be a lot better off if she’d just let me give her the Heimlich.”

“Hey, you did great and you did the right thing. She’s alive because of you.” The paramedic looked over our shoulders. “And it looks like your fire extinguisher kept the whole car from blowing up. You all should be proud.”


Javier looked around. The ambulance was just pulling up, along with a police cruiser. Javier was sure they’d have lots of questions.

“Hello young man. I hear you saved the day.” The police officer walked up with his hand outstretched. Javier shook it.

“Thanks. Listen, I was on my way to take my grandmother to an important doctors appointment.”

“You’re going to have to reschedule. We really need to ask you some questions.”

“Can I send my sister along with her or do you need to talk to them too? It took forever to make the appointment.”

“Yeah I think that would be fine.”

Javier walked over to Camilla and his grandmother where they were waiting patiently in the bug.

“The officer said you can go ahead and go to the appointment, but I have to stay to answer some questions. Is that okay?” Javier directed the question at Camilla.

“Esta bien nieto.”

“Yeah that’s fine Javi. I’ve got my notebook to take notes. We’ll meet you at home.” Camilla got out of the car and gave Javier a hug. She whispered in his ear, “You did good bro.”

Later that afternoon in the three bedroom apartment they shared, Camilla told Javier that their grandmother needed to go back to the hospital for some scans, but that the blood tests they’d had done indicated some kind of cancer. The doctor had pulled Camilla aside at the end of the appointment and told her he thought it was likely an aggressive form based on how the symptoms had presented.

Their grandmother seemed to take the news in stride. She’d told both Camilla and Javier that she hadn’t lived a long and happy life to just give up now. They’d fight it, and she’d be okay.

She seemed much more concerned about getting a new fire extinguisher for her car before they went anywhere else. Javier didn’t tell her that it would have to wait until his next paycheck from the YMCA. He just said, “Si, claro” and gave her a hug.


Craigslist Missed Connection:

You: Passed out on the grass after choking on a biscuit and slamming your car into a guardrail at Franklin and Harding. Me: Driver of silver bug with 2 women in the car who stopped and put your car fire out.

It’s been a bad month, so if you would get me a new fire extinguisher, I would appreciate it. Also don’t eat while driving in the future, it’s dangerous, as you discovered.

Originally posted 2-21-2010, Nashville TN

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    February 2, 2023 4:44 am

    woah, what a missed connection! dramatic. I think the story you wrote for it is perfect. ::hi five::

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: