Name’s Peter Markham. I own the garage in Paradise, north end of town. You’ve probably seen it, right?
Are you the hero of your own story?
Sure, I’m a hero. You should ha’ seen me when the bus broke down on the corner. I’m out there with my tool-belt around my waist like some kinda cowboy. You know, Peter Markham, the garage guy, marching out to save the day.
What is your problem in the story?
Don’t know why everyone assumes you have a problem. Sure, my wife’s sleeping with the man upstairs but, well, she’s got her reasons and I’m not complaining. I don’t have problems. I solve them.
How do you see yourself?
The last great superhero? No, seriously, I’m a good enough guy. I’m no angel, sure, and I’ve had my moments. But I’ve never hurt anyone. I wouldn’t do that.
How do your friends see you?
Well… There was that sweet young thing came into the garage the other day, offered to buy me a drink…
How do your enemies see you?
I don’t have enemies. Not me.
What are your achievements?
I’ve got my garage. And I’ve got my son. He’s my greatest achievement I guess. Got a grandson on the way too; did you know that? Grandchild anyway, I guess they don’t know yet if it’s a boy or a girl.
What makes you happy?
Really? A job well-done.
What makes you sad?
Nothing. I’m not that type of guy.
What do you regret?
Ah, you’ve got me there. Regrets, I’ve got my regrets… I regret leaving I guess, all those years ago, missing young Troy growing up. I regret coming back and things not being the same. You know, you can’t help wondering sometimes can you? If you’d done things different, said something else. I don’t know. Mary, she never was quite the same and I regret that, I know. So now she’s got her fancy man upstairs and I’m left with nothing, no-one. I mean… But I’m fine with it really. Not a problem. Not really.
Have you ever failed at anything?
Well, it’s like I said. Failed at being a husband and father I guess. But it wasn’t my fault; you’ve got to understand that. I did my best by them. Heart in the right place.
Has anyone ever failed you?
Failed me? Sure. Her with her fancy man for one.
Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Sure, but what are you getting at? Trying to be my therapist are you? Think I’m going to tell you something I shouldn’t?
What was your childhood like?
Yeah. Let’s stop this. Let’s not talk about that. I’m not my father. I never will be my father. And whatever it is you’ve dug up about my father it doesn’t matter. I’m not him.
Do you like remembering your childhood?
Do you like upsetting people? What game are you playing at? I’m a busy guy and the garage won’t run itself so I think we’re done. Yeah, we’re done. See ya around. And bring your car in if it breaks down on your way out of town.
“Divide by Zero” by Sheila Deeth: It takes a subdivision to raise a child, and a wealth of threads to weave a tapestry, until one breaks. Troy, the garage mechanic’s son, loves Lydia, the rich man’s daughter. Amethyst has a remarkable cat and Andrea a curious accent. Old Abigail knows more than anyone else but doesn’t speak. And in Paradise Park a middle aged man keeps watch while autistic Amelia keeps getting lost. Pastor Bill, at the church of Paradise, tries to mend people. Peter mends cars. But when that fraying thread gives way it might take a child to raise the subdivision…or to mend it.
Author bio: Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.
Click here to read an: Excerpt From “Divide by Zero” by Sheila Deeth