From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Posts tagged ‘van’




Short Fiction By Cliff Lewis

I loved it! The sun gleamed from pristine candy-red paint work.And the patent leather caressed me tenderly as I sank into heaven behind the wheel.

The slick-as-silicon sales-snake beamed his pearly-white dental work my way.

“Yes-sir, she’s a beauty ain’t she?”

“So so”, I lied.

I needn’t have bothered, he could smell my excitement from a mile away.

“Take her for a spin”, he oozed, “She runs like a top!” He waved the key in my face ; like I needed a formal invitation.  I snatched it up, and slid it into the ignition in one fluid motion.

The hairs on the nape of my neck stood at attention, as my dream car roared to life. I swung out of the lot, and headed east on Main. I adjusted my shades, and shifted gears. Nice! The Car and I were gelling nicely we both, clearly, longed to hit the open road and just keep going!.

As I pulled up at the light on Broadway, two masked, gunmen came barreling out of the First National bank, and jumped into a grey getaway van. The Van lurched away before its rear doors were fully closed.They jumped the curb on 41st, and sped away. I performed a death defying u-turn, and followed at a discrete distance. Not discrete enough though apparently. The Van’s door swung wide and I watched in horror as a hail of bullets tap-danced off the Mustang’s hood. I serpentined and dropped back . The Grey van zigged, I zagged,  our tires squealed like some maniacal symphony. The get away vehicle lurched and swerved, leaving startled pedestrians and thick. black. tread marks in it’s wake. I’d lost a little ground, in my concern for the pristine paint job and nosy onlookers, but I spotted the van again as it turned tail and ducked down a  back alley.

I reached for the radio mic intending to call it in. Then swore to myself as the realization washed over me. This was not my car! No radio meant no backup, I was in this alone. I gunned the mighty engine, and  threw caution to the wind,

The narrow lane was lined with trash cans, one of which came hurtling at me and left a lovely crack in my windshield. We covered several blocks bobbing and weaving around trash bins, dumpsters old furniture and even mattresses. The spidering cracks in my windshield were blocking about eighty-five percent of my view, but I kept going.  I could see enough to know I was closing in on my prey.

The door swung open again, and masked bandit glared at me down the barrel of a semi automatic weapon. If I’d had time for conscious thought It would have been something along the lines of, “I’m a  dead man!” , but its erratic spray seemed to miss its mark.

A thud, a hiss and a sudden mist obscured what was left of my vision though, and I could tell that the Mustang’s radiator was mortally wounded. That boiled my blood!  I stomped on the gas fully aware that my trusty stead was in it’s death throes. Then, I heard sirens, and spotted the fractured lights from two police cruisers up ahead. I half, smiled with relief. Thank god someone had summoned the troops!

I halted the crippled muscle car, and I started off on foot. Just ahead, the van was slowing to a crawl,  I drew my gun, released the safety, and crouching low, so as not to create an easy target,  I  cautiously approached the rear door.   I might have been off duty, but my instincts and training had automatically kicked in and hopefully, had prepared me for such as this.

. By now,  two squad cars were blocking the lane, and at least four uniformed officers were stationed behind dumpsters and bins and, in effect, surrounding the beat-up old econoline. I caught the glimmer of a gun barrel, and launched myself at the van’s door, if I had hesitated even an eighth of a second longer he would have gotten his shot off at me. Luckily he lost his grip on the weapon it clattered to the ground and he retreated back into the van. Kicked the rifle out of harms way,. ducked, rolled and regained my footing.

“This is the police”, I hollered!  “We’ve got you surrounded. Do us all a favor, toss out the rest your weapons and exit the vehicle with your hands raised, now!” In the sudden silence, I could hear the tolling of a distant church bell, the whine of faraway motorists and the insistent thudding of my own heartbeat.

The standoff lasted all of two, earth shaking, minutes, and then the Van’s side door slid slowly open.

The two masked men and their chauffeur gave up without a fight.  Three craggy faced Uniforms ushered them away,  I wiped my face on my sleeve, and took a deep breath.  Only then did I turn my gaze, sorrowfully back on my “dream car” Oh Jeez! It was not a pretty sight.

“They should give you a hero’s burial, old friend,” I muttered under my breath,  I could see  a bright side or two, though.. Three armed robbers were about to be put away for a long time, and by some miracle, I’d lived to tell the tale.

The slick Dealer looked up as the tow truck pulled in. He stood stock still for a number of seconds, then his face sagged and his jaw dropped. The candy-red ’66 Mustang convertible was torn to shreds and bleeding (coolant) like a wounded beast. He stared, first  at the car,in abject horror, and then at me  in utter disbelief.

“I think I’ll pass on this one.” I deadpanned.  “I don’t really care for the color.”

When I showed up at HQ, the news had clearly preceded me, The high fives and back slaps came from all quarters, except one.

Chief Brady didn’t know whether to hug me or wring my neck, he couldn’t see why the department should foot the bill for my fools errand and he was clearly inclined to deduct  it from my pay, for the next thirty or forty years, Then again, I had also scored a major coo for his department. I had captured the notorious Frobisher Gang, and that meant major brownie points all round.

Later, when the air had cleared, and the red in his eyes faded to a pale purple hue, He made me promise to focus my test-driving escapades on cheap economy cars,

So that’s about it,  your average cop’s day off, I guess.

Oh, wait a second! Your not still wondering about that Mustang are you? Oh okay. Well fortunately, the powers that be didn’t make me foot the extensive repair bill, but sadly,  I  didn’t get a car out of the deal either. The Chief thought it was a grand enough gesture, on his part, not to fine me or issue me a suspension. Lucky old me.

It still gives me a  thrill or two to test drive a classic from time to time! You gotta dream big!

Hey, you never know, someone’s gotta win those lotteries… right?




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