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Christian Contemporary Funny

Breathe in, breathe out. I prepare myself as I receive a chime notification that my rideshare driver has arrived.

I linger for a few seconds, debating if I want to do this today. If scattering, one’s mother has one better day than another. Finally, I hear Mom’s voice propelling me forward, and I grab the urn holding her ashes and lock the door behind me when I leave.

There’s a slight breeze outside, and I’m glad I wore a light blazer to combat the chill. I reach the rideshare car. It’s a silver Honda, and I hold tight to Mom’s urn. When I open the door, I’m greeted by a friendly voice. 

“Hi, Mark, right?” she questions.

“Yes, I’m Mark.” I slide into the rear passenger seat and close the door.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Sonia, and I’ll be your driver today,” she says, waiting while I put my seatbelt over my chest and lap; she’s waiting for the click sound before she carefully pulls out onto the street in front of my house.

I carefully buckle Mom’s urn into the seat next to me. Soothing and gentle notes move throughout the car, and I listen to the lyrics. I realize it’s Christian music. 

It feels somewhat appropriate that I’m riding in the back of a rideshare with Mom, listening to Christian music. It feels like this is how it’s supposed to be. Sonia is quiet. I have a feeling it’s not her usual personality, but she seems good at reading the environment. I must be putting off ‘stay away’ vibes again, and she’s picking up on it.

I glance towards her and quickly glance away, realizing I just saw what looks like the shape of her chest. Side boob, they call it. Was I just flashed? I look back at her; she adjusts her right arm on the steering wheel, and I see it again. I’m shocked, and words won't come out of my mouth. I glance further at her, really paying attention this time, and realize she’s completely nude!

I didn’t pay attention when I first approached and entered the car. I was too distracted about getting Mom situated. Now I’m wondering why I got into a vehicle with a naked woman. Is this a joke? I decide I will say something after all.

“It’s chilly out today, isn’t it?

“Yeah, it’s a bit nippy,” she says, giggling as she says it, and I wonder what kind of exhibitionist she is. I don’t mean to judge. It’s her car, and I don’t believe there’s a dress code, but even as an independent contractor, isn’t there some requirement? Surely, it is not comfortable for her to drive around naked in front of strangers. Maybe I’m her first ride of the day, and she’s going to rush home and put some clothes on after she drops me off. I’ll try again.

“Just starting your day?” I say, knowing my assessment must be accurate.

“I actually got an early start today. I’ve been driving since five in the morning. I like to drive early and have the rest of the day to run errands or tend to appointments,” she said, merging onto the freeway.

My mind is in overdrive now. She’s been driving all day and flashing customers. I mean, she’s pretty, but it’s still indecent. What if it were a mother with children or an older couple? Is this an April Fool’s joke in the fall? I don’t know; I’m so confused and offended. And not offended and curious. 

I wish I could be free like her. I wish I could not worry about the expectations people have of me or that I have of myself.

I stare out the window as we pass cars by and look at the tiny slivers of grass on the borders of the highway. Everyone is in such a hurry. Signs and billboards fly by as Sonia maintains the speed of traffic flow. Californians drive too fast for me. I enjoy taking rideshares. It feels safer, and I don’t have to pay for a car, gas, or upkeep. Plus, this car smells good. It smells like cherries or something.

“The car smells nice,” I realize I’ve said it out loud.

“Thank you, I like the Coronado Cherry scent. I’ve been using it for years, and it seems to be a hit,” she says, her eyes still on the road.

I’m beyond impressed with this woman. Why shouldn’t she drive naked? It’s her car. She’s doing me a service by driving me to the spot where I’m going to spread Mom’s ashes. Something about the situation feels freeing.

The music continues to play, and I feel lighter than I have in months. I know Mom would approve. She was definitely a hippy in her day. She believed in peace and love. I’d heard stories about the wild parties she’d attended and her short stint at a nudist colony. I know this is nothing compared to her previous lifestyle.

I’m the one who’s a prude. 

I decide to remove my loafers but leave my socks on. I remove my slacks and fold them up, placing them in the space between Mom and me. 

“We’re almost there,” Sonia says

“Sounds good,” I say, more chipper than I was when I entered the car. This was definitely a good choice. I have Sonia to thank for getting me out of my funk and opening my eyes to being free.

I remove my blazer and my long-sleeved shirt. This is a lot for me. I’m now sitting in my white undershirt and light blue boxers. I look over at Mom’s urn, and I’ve never felt happier. I know she’s proud of me. Her uptight son is finally embracing change and being adventurous. I look at Sonia, who’s still driving and looks to be about ten minutes away from my destination. She’s so brave to bare it all in front of her riders without caring about other people’s opinions. Oh heck, I decided to take it all off, except my socks. 

It was a little tricky doing all that and keeping the seat belt on, but I managed. My clothes are all folded nicely in the back seat between Mom and me. Soon, Sonia turns down the long dirt road that leads to our family cabin.  

We hit a bump on the dirt ground, and my glasses fly off my head onto my lap.

“Sorry about that,” Sonia says as she travails the rough terrain in her little Honda.

“No problem,” I say to this free-spirited soul. I grab my glasses from my lap, not realizing they were on my head and I wasn’t wearing them this entire time.

When I put the glasses onto my face, my face drops. What I thought was a naked driver was a young woman wearing brown jeans and a brown form-fitting turtleneck that both matched her skin complexion. She wasn’t naked. But now, I am.

We arrive at the lake cabin where Mom enjoyed spending her last decade. 

“We’re here,” Sonia stops the car and slides the ‘drop off’ notification on her rideshare app, signifying that she’s dropping me off. I’m mortified for what I know is coming. I quickly, but not quick enough, grab my light blue boxers and put them on as fast as my body will allow. 

Sonia hears the commotion and turns around to find me half-naked. Her eyes are as big as saucers, and she doesn’t say anything. She just stares with her mouth agape. She probably thinks I’m crazy. I can be charged with indecent exposure. “Please leave,” she firmly says, facing forward in her seat.

“I’m so sorry,” is all I can say. I quickly unbuckle my seatbelt and grab my shoes and other clothes. I dart out of the car and run like a little boy caught stealing candy at a store into the confines of the wood cabin where I can safely and hopefully no longer embarrass myself.

I don’t turn around, but I hear her car speed away as fast as it can over the mulch and broken branches scattered on the ground. As soon as I’m in the cabin, I breathe a breath I didn’t realize I was holding and slide down to the floor. “What’s the matter with me?” I put my head in my hands.

A knock sounds at the door. Is it the cops? Did Sonia call the cops on me? I quickly put my clothes on and ran my fingers through my hair before calmly opening the door. Sonia is standing on my porch holding something. In my mind, I imagine that she’s returned with a baseball bat to beat me for being a pervert. When I get out of my head, I realize she’s holding an urn. It’s Mom. 

“You forgot this,” she says cautiously but sympathetically. I skeptically look around for a bat but take the urn from her hands.

“Thank you, Sonia. I’m so sorry for all of this. I’ll give you a big tip for everything. Have a nice day,” I say as I prepare to shut the cabin door. I’m still thoroughly embarrassed.

“It’s none of my business, but did someone just pass?” She asks with compassion I didn’t expect after what I put her through.

I’m holding the urn tightly against my body. I can barely confirm her question, but she stands there waiting for a response. I nod my head yes. It’s all I can muster at the moment.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” she says. 

“Thank you,” I say almost inaudibly.

“If someone I cared for had just passed, I guess I would see crazy things too, like people driving naked,” she slightly smiles.

I look up, shocked that she’s not angry or ready to beat me with a bat or that the police aren’t standing with her while we’re having this conversation.

“I appreciate your kind words,” I say before I realize she’s the first person I’ve talked to about my mother’s passing. "Honestly, I'm a little shocked you're taking this so well."

"Unfortunately, this isn't the worst thing that's happened when I've driven someone. Believe me, I could tell you some stories," she said.

"You're good at making me feel better. I appreciate what you're doing," I said sheepishly.

“I know it’s not the same, but when my grandmother passed, I jumped off a bridge,” she says straight-faced.

“Really?”

“Yeah, I figured life was short, and I needed to do things that scared me. So that when it’s time for me to go, I can say I lived. Bungee jumping scared me, but it was a freeing experience,” she clarified.

“You’re really brave. The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is what I just did in the back of your car. Sorry again about that. I really thought you were so brave for driving naked, and I wanted to be that free.”  

“No, I’m definitely not a thrill seeker, I’m working my way up to living the life I want, I guess, like most people,” she said, holding her hands together in front of her, and I suddenly realized she needed to go and pick up other passengers.

“Oh, I’m sorry to keep you. I know you have to go, but thanks again for bringing Mom back,” I say, appreciating her gift of patience, understanding, and kindness. It was nice to have someone to talk with.

“I don’t usually give out my number, but here’s my number,” she pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket. The ten digits were scribbled in black pen on the paper like she had already decided back in the car to give it to me when she returned to Mom. “Call or text whenever you want someone to chat with. I mean it,” she said sincerely, handing me the paper.

“Thank you so much, Sonia. For everything. Umm, I’m not much of a host, and there’s not much food in here, but can I offer you something to drink before you get back on the road?” I realized it was the right thing to do. Mom would want me to properly thank Sonia. She’d say I’d been raised better than that. “We can sit on the porch,” I said, motioning towards the two wooden rocking chairs covered in leaves. I wasn’t sure if she trusted me enough to be alone in the cabin with me after the stunt I pulled in the car, so the porch was a safe option.

“That sounds nice, thanks,” she gave that small smile again.

I put Mom in her favorite wingback chair in the cabin before grabbing a rag and cleaning off the rocking chairs outside. Then, I went back inside to grab two bottles of spring water. 

Sonia and I sat outside, talking for hours. She had finished driving for the day and said she enjoyed my company. Her rideshare stories made me laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. About an hour before sunset, she got up to use the bathroom before allowing me to give her a light hug, with lots of distance between us and drove off.

I think I just made a friend.

August 26, 2023 09:49

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19 comments

Bob Long Jr
17:05 Sep 21, 2023

Well that was entertaining to read. I kind of expected Sonia to be .. you know .. when he came back out. Lol.

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Betha Darling
19:10 Sep 21, 2023

Hahaha! It's wonderful to hear that this story made you smile! I can see how you could come to that conclusion. Thank you so much for sharing your feedback with me.

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Philip Ebuluofor
16:10 Sep 07, 2023

Seeing double and forgetting ourselves are at times signs of higher problems that warrant paying attention to.

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Betha Darling
23:21 Sep 07, 2023

Very true! Thank you for your feedback and for reading my story.

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Danie Holland
22:23 Sep 06, 2023

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I laughed so much. I also loved the twist at the end. She could have ran away screaming or phoned the cops but instead she chose to be a light in his darkness and that is precious.

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Betha Darling
23:26 Sep 07, 2023

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the story! Your feedback is appreciated, thank you! :)

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Michael Jurasek
17:15 Sep 05, 2023

I really enjoyed reading this story. I think you did an excellent job describing your protagonist's thought process and internal tension with respect to the "naked" driver. It was an introspective and wonderfully humorous story about grieving and connection.

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Betha Darling
19:26 Sep 05, 2023

Thank you so much for sharing your feedback with me. It's amazing how grieving emotions can impact us in unexpected ways and how compassion and unexpected human connection can be the antidote. I'm glad you enjoyed the story! :)

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Tom Skye
14:22 Sep 04, 2023

This a was a brilliant feel-good yarn. Nice job

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Betha Darling
20:43 Sep 04, 2023

Thank you for your feedback. :)

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AnneMarie Miles
16:03 Sep 03, 2023

Oh I just loved this! Such a funny mishap. And such a creative and original premise for a story. I'm sure many people have developed friendships starting from embarrassing moments like this. You are a wonderful writer. I noticed the tense change from present to past a few times so watch out for that in your edits, but aside from the mechanics, this was excellent. Thanks for the laugh!! I'm following you because I hope to read more of your fun tales!

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Betha Darling
01:06 Sep 04, 2023

AnneMarie, thank you so much for your kind words and feedback! It's true, sometimes the most unusual circumstances can lead to awesome friendships. I really appreciate your encouragement, and I'll definitely take your advice to watch tense changes to improve my writing. I'm now following you and can't wait to read your stories too!

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AnneMarie Miles
01:29 Sep 04, 2023

Even the best and most experienced writers struggle with consistent tense. I had to remind myself of it this week! You might enjoy my story, New Year's Eve Annual Streaking Race as it also explores silly friendships and nudity, ha! Looking forward to reading more from you.

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Susan Catucci
00:51 Sep 03, 2023

Lovely storyline, perfectly executed, I would say. Your message is exquisite - in our grief, we crave connection and comfort. Sometime in our darkest moments, we are fortunate enough to recognize a gift that either comes, came (probably both) our way. I appreciate so much a chance encounter that, when you keep a little window in your heart open, can be enriching. I love the human combination of humility, mirth and kindness you use to showcase this. This is the language of love and life. I can tell you have things to share and stories t...

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Betha Darling
00:52 Sep 04, 2023

Susan, your wonderful feedback means so much to me! I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the story and its message. You've motivated me to keep writing. I'm looking forward to reading your stories as well! Thank you!

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Mary Bendickson
19:06 Sep 02, 2023

Surprising story.☺️ Thanks for the follow.

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Betha Darling
19:12 Sep 02, 2023

Thank you for your feedback!

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R W Mack
14:08 Sep 02, 2023

Now here's a submission I didn't expect. I'm a big fan of titles that don't give away the story. What I expected was *SPOILER* a naked driver, but what I got was a naked passenger and a lampoon-level misunderstanding scene that could've gone the amusing rom-com set up but went the friendly hallmark style into the literally setting sun. The pace was light and easy to read. There was more tell than show. The title gave me enough to hook interest, but not kill intrigue by giving up too much plot like longer titles might. It bundled up nicely ...

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Betha Darling
19:02 Sep 02, 2023

Hello R.W. Mack! Thank you for taking the time to read The Naked Driver! I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it. Your observation about the Hallmark-style ending, with the sun setting, was spot on. I aimed for a light and easy pace. My goal was to show how a sympathetic and human touch can offer compassion even in awkward situations. Everyone handles loss differently, and I wanted to present a humorous take on what could have been a depressing ride for Mark. I'm glad it came across well. I appreciate your feedback and kind words.

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RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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