Thursday, August 25, 2016

Story 149: My Car Was Used in a Chase Scene

(Inspired by Jason Bourne rather than by a true story)

            The mini-TV in the break room featured some exciting news:
            “Hey, look guys, an actual car chase with the cops!”
            The co-workers gathered around the set and watched in rapture as a news helicopter filmed the high-speed chase down the parkway.  There were dodgings and weavings, there were near-misses with adventurous deer, there were close encounters with school buses full of children, and state lines were crossed.
            “Hey Janice, isn’t that your car?”
            Janice stared at the vehicle that had been coerced into service as a getaway car: the bright red gash on the grey paint of the passenger door and the now-permanent KRAZY KITTENS decal on the roof could not be denied.
            She denied it: “Nooo, my car’s still in the parking lot here – ” she peered out the window and saw an empty space surrounded by a path of demolition where her car had been.  “I’ll be right back.”
            She walked briskly out of the break room; her co-workers watched until she left and then turned back to the Breaking News: “And the vehicle approaches another police barricade – oh!  It burst right through it!  Those dents aren’t coming off the finish anytime soon, let me tell you.”
            “The pursuit continues as the battered sedan bumper-cars its way through rush hour traffic – hold on, I see another vehicle is now tailing the suspect, separate from the police cars in pursuit.  The second vehicle is coming up behind the suspect – it taps the left fender – oh!  The suspect’s vehicle spins out of control!  It’s taking out even more cars than before, but yes!  It finally has come to a stop!  Police surround the suspect’s vehicle – the suspect emerges – he surrenders himself to law enforcement and they are carrying him away in exhaustion!  Oh, what a happy ending to this roadway menace!  It does beg the question: who is going to clean up this mess?!
            “Let’s cut over to the driver of the second vehicle, the one who finally put an end to this hellish chase.  Reporter on scene?”
            “Yes, thank you – tell us, ma’am, what is your connection to this case?  Just a concerned citizen?”
            “Yes, all that, and that car there is mine – if anyone’s going to create of swath of destruction with it, it’s gonna be me!”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Story 148: Heat Waves on the Ocean

            “I can’t believe you’re still going to the beach today,” her mom said.  “The rip tides are really bad, the place is crawling with litterbugs, and it’s supposed to feel like 115° in the shade, the water’ll be boiling.  Where’s the fun in that?”
            “You don’t understand: the sea is calling to me!  And I already took the day off from work.”
            The sea also called to a few hundred other people on that stretch of the coastline, and she had to park about half a mile away from it.  No matter: she had carried her umbrella, chair, beach bag, lunch bag, and purse bag as if she was embarking on a trek across the Rockies in the past, and she could do it again.
            All the good spots had been taken hours ago, so she snagged an open square of sand two feet from the parking lot entrance.  Melting already, she planted her umbrella spear into the ground, staking her claim, and then ran to the water over the sizzling silicon dioxide and cooled off her tootsies before diving into the high tide.  She was almost immediately whistled in by the lifeguards as her enthusiasm carried her past the buoys and into the dolphin freeway – several pod members ran her over in the confusion and one offered her a ride back to shore.
            She flew in from the ocean with steam rising off of her as the water evaporated instantly from her skin.  Looking around, she saw that nearly everyone else on the beach remained in their shaded zones: even the lifeguards had retreated from their high chairs and were watching whichever swimmers were actually out there from the safety of their overturned rowboats.
            She returned to her homestead blanket, where the shade had moved just enough so the whole setup had to be repositioned.  Just as she arrayed herself with the requisite beach read and with her towel covering enough so she would not need to reapply sunscreen, a low roar steadily grew louder from the direction of the parking lot.  She looked to that side in time to see about 150 children arriving with their adults, who herded them to the only places left on the beach to plant their roots.
            “No one told me this was Camp Day,” she muttered to no one.  She tried to continue reading but could not concentrate with the new background noise of enthusiastic youth that had been introduced to the environment.  She gave up when they were guided to the waves in rotating groups – the ones left behind were just too happy for her ears to bear, so she left them to their joy and relocated herself back to her car.
            The air conditioning broke down on the drive home, she was trapped at a drawbridge for 20 minutes, and her sunburned cheeks already were peeling, but they all were worth it: she viewed them as reminders that she was not at that moment freezing in the single-digit temperature and 10-inch snowdrifts that awaited her in six months.