The Mexico Plate

Submitted into Contest #122 in response to: Start your story in the middle of a traffic jam.... view prompt


Drama Romance

This was awkward, this should have been a quick, quiet trip. Why did he even decide to drive Katie home after a fight like that? Why is there ever traffic like this? Its 5 in the morning.

“Black Friday sale”, said Katie, “places open at 6”


“You're wondering why there is a traffic jam.” She said

How did she always know what he was thinking…

“Maybe I'm wondering why we're here. “ Said Ben

“Where? In the car after you broke up with me? It's because you decided you needed to give me a ride home after that, for some reason” Katie said as she turned to look out the side window.

Gas pedal

“It's 5 in the morning! And besides, if you end up dead after we break up, I'm suspect number one. I've seen all those dateline episodes. “

“No one would know we broke up yet, and I could have called an Uber. You just need to admit you still care about me, so we can move on.”

“I do care, I don't deny that. I didn't break things off because I don't care.” Said Ben

“Really? Why did you then?" Katie said, turning back toward him.

“I told you already, I'm not doing this again.”

Brake pedal

“Because you have somewhere to go?” 

Katie gestured towards the long line of brake lights in front of them.

“I just...don't, okay.” 

“Because you're not actually sure why...”

“I'm sure.”

Gas pedal

“Are you? You haven't sounded sure. All I've heard is vague BS...It's not you, it's me.” She said mockingly.

“Well it is me. There is nothing wrong with you, nothing you did wrong, it's just me.”

“That doesn't make any sense.”

“It doesn't need to make sense to you. I've already explained it.”

Brake pedal

“Fine, we will just sit here in silence then.” Katie said, turning back to the window.


Ben reached out and turned on the radio. The AM radio announcer blasted through the speakers.

“And in traffic, it looks like A couple of anxious black Friday shoppers have caused a fender bender backing up traffic for miles. Jenny just finished the fly over and is advising people to stay away if they can. If you do need to use the freeway, expect to add a half an hour to your drive”

A half hour,? He was going to be stuck in this car for another 30 minutes. 

Ben turned off the radio. 

"I don't understand why people don't just shop online, we wouldn't be in this mess." Ben said

"You know what I don't understand? Asked Katie


"Why you broke up with me"


Gas pedal

"If you actually do want to break up with me, and your reason makes sense, I'll have to accept it, but at least tell me why."

“I told you why”

“That's bull and you know it. You haven't told me the real reason. “

“Maybe there isn't a reason”

"There is, and I don't know why you won't tell me. Did you do something? Something you regret?" Katie asked

“What? No!”

Brake pedal

“That would explain why you're driving me home, why you still came to dinner with my family. You did something. “

“Listen, I just…” Ben trailed off as the vehicle in front of him edged forward

Gas pedal

“I forgive you,” Katie said, finally turning back toward him.


Brake Pedal

“I forgive you. Whatever you did, I forgive you.” 

“You don't even know what it is.”

“So there is something”

“I didn't say that.”

Did He?

“You just did. Just say it, so I can know and we can both move on.”

“There isn't anything.”

Gas pedal

“Did you cheat on me?” Katie snapped, “Did you? Was it that blonde from your work? It was, wasn't it?”

“I didn't cheat on you, okay. I didn't. I wouldn't. “

“Then what is it! Just tell me, or I'll assume you cheated. I'll tell everyone that's why we broke up. “

Brake pedal

Ben closed his eyes and squeezed the steering wheel. 

Katie leaned forward and pulled out her phone. 

“What are you doing?” He asked

“I'm texting Sarah. Telling her you cheated on me. “

“I didn't cheat on you.”

Why was no one moving? He couldn't even see police lights or a tow truck or anything. Was anyone even doing anything about this traffic?

“I guess we will never know.“ Katie said as she clicked the keys on her phone.

Gas pedal, 

brake pedal, 

gas pedal...

Katie typed out her message one letter at a time. Click, click, click. 

Brake pedal...

“I broke your plate,” Ben said as he pushed his hand through his hair.

“You what now?

“I broke your Mexico plate. “

Katie turned to stare out the window. 

“You broke my plate, and then you let me blame my sister's boyfriend for stealing it. “

“He's an asshat. You know you were looking for a reason to hate him. When you came in the room, after you noticed your plate missing, you went right to accusing him, so I just rolled with it.“

Gas Pedal

“That's why you broke up with me? Because you broke my plate?”

“I know that's the reason your sister wasn't at dinner tonight, and you all talked about it. It turned bigger than I thought, and I was in too deep, and I knew I couldn't handle keeping it a secret for the rest of my life.”

“Rest of your life? So until that happened, you were planning on spending the rest of your life with me?” Katie turned back toward him again.

Brake pedal

“Yeah. Probably. I mean, I had to at least consider it. That I would be keeping the secret that long. “

“You're an idiot.”

“I'm sorry.”

“Shut up, Ben”

“You said you would forgive me.”

“I lied. Now we're even.”

“I didn't lie. “

Gas Pedal

“Not telling the truth is the same as lying, Ben. “

“Seriously though, how much better was dinner without Erin and asshat there?” Ben quipped

“Are you trying to justify your lie now?”

“He’s stolen stuff before, what was one more thing? 

“Are you sure he's stolen stuff? Or did you just break it and hide it?”

“I only broke the plate.”


Katie turned towards the window again. 

“So that's the real reason you broke up with me? You broke my plate and didn't want to keep a secret the rest of your life?”


The car gained a little speed as it passed the two cars on the shoulder. The broken bumper just barely hanging into the lane.

This caused all this traffic? They are barely even blocking a lane. 

The cars began to spread out in front of him and gain speed.

They rode the rest of the way down the freeway in silence. The silence was still hanging to the air, but Ben dared not go for the radio.

He made the final turn down Katie's street and pulled in front of her building. The sky showing a hint of pink from the coming dawn. 

Katie's gaze stayed out the window, as she reached for the handle.

“I’m sorry." Said Ben 

"I know"

Katie pulled herself out of the car but turned around and leaned back in.

"Are you coming in or what?”

Ben scrunched his face at her “Am I coming in?” 

She just stared at him, waiting.

Ben turns off the car. “Oh, yeah. I'm coming in”

December 03, 2021 05:18

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Palak Shah
16:06 Dec 12, 2021

I love the way that this story has been crafted and the plotline is awesome. Could you please read my latest story if possible? :)) Thanks :))


05:42 Dec 13, 2021

Sure, were you looking for me to give you constructive feedback on it?


Palak Shah
17:03 Dec 13, 2021

Yes if possible :))


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John Brannon
07:07 Dec 12, 2021

I really like this story. The character development is driven by the story line and the dialog flows very naturally. Two things I am hoping to one day accomplish in my own writing. Your experience as a writer is pretty obvious. Great story!


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