|Maxie's car, Tulip, on title page of The Roundabout Waltz|
|Maxie.. off the luggage rack and opened to its title page|
This is the story of Maxie in the Roundabout Waltz...
Maxie’s car is named Tulip. Tulip is a 17-year old Subaru Outback with 220 K miles and a bad muffler. Maxie is a 60-year-old artist with two grown kids, a husband who likes sports, and a cat named Charlemagne. She’s painted flowers all over Tulip in order to hide the rust (and the dents.)
Inside, Tulip is filled to the roof with Maxie's art supplies…and other things. Paints and papers, stacks of empty yogurt cups, fabric scraps, old T-shirts and sheets she’s collected for rags, and an easel, two Dremel tools (with boards), the cat crate, sandpaper, a bag of books for the used book store, maps, her water bottle, last week’s lunch (uneaten), the mail, recycling (for the dump), a stack of mat board, a stack of card board, wooden dowels, towels, bits of scrap iron, and wax paper, a box of laundry detergent, a pair of eyeglasses, a pair of sunglasses, a tube of hand cream, a brush. On the back seat floor are some flakes of mica, bits of moss, lichen, rocks, pieces of driftwood, some shells, and a box of Kleenex.
Maxie can’t really see out of Tulip’s back window so she uses her breaks a lot! That way, if anyone’s behind her, they’ll be on guard and not run into her if she needs to make a sudden stop. Maxie slows down for the roundabout at Hillsboro Street and Pullen Road; pumping her breaks 5 or 6 times. She knows about roundabouts. She saw them when she took an art workshop in France five years ago.
As she nears the roundabout, she grips the steering wheel and opens her eyes wide, getting ready to enter. Her Hawaiian-print drugstore glasses slip down her nose and her gray bangs fall in her eyes, tickling her face. She sees a gap in the circle of cars ahead. She hits the gas as Tulip barrels into the loop of cars. In the same motion, everything in the car shifts as Tulip lurches forward and then tilts to the right.
On the dashboard, Maxi’s favorite coffee mug takes a flying leap towards the back of the car. From the corner of her eye, Maxie watches as it lands facedown in the middle of the front passenger seat. She watches the dregs of her morning coffee seep into the tan seat cushion and marvels at the spreading stain. She smells the aroma of her French roast coffee... with half cup of cream.. knowing it’ll really be rich tomorrow!
|the accordion book, Maxie, coming out of Tulip's luggage rack|