I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering exactly what I have to offer visitors to this blog. I’d love for this space to always be creative and informative – for readers to leave with knowledge or inspiration that spurs them on to further success, wealth, happiness or self-discovery. Alas, for better or worse, I’ve embraced this place is mostly my playground and a source of entertainment. -- At least, I hope it is the latter for you. (Please don't burst my bubble. That stuff is really tough to get out of my eyelashes.)
I present my latest short story, “Drive.” I hope you like it. (Sorry, Anthony’s not in this one.)
Instantly, as Jimmy touched his trembling foot to the pedal, he knew it was far too late to turn back. His journey had begun. His lust for the road subdued his intermittent fear of the future. Images of murderous hitchhikers emerging from his mother’s frightening tales of misfortune disappeared. Echoes of piercing, insufficient cries for help escaped earshot — despite their repetition and paraphrasing.
The warnings were designed as a safeguard for the fairly naïve son Kate worried would endanger himself. But, his biggest threat, thus far, had stemmed from sleeping in his own soiled sheets. He’d learned the laws of the land. He always surrendered the right of way when it was warranted. He signaled before every turn. And over time, he’d grown especially proud of his expanding experience with parallel parking. He’d yet to scratch his paint.
Still, the young traveler’s knuckles stiffened at the sight of an unexpected pothole. He tightened his grip and grimaced — anticipating damage far more reaching than any spare could fix. Jimmy was much too anxious to even look behind him. Aghast, he pictured flashing police car lights. An angry cop would ticket and arrest him — lock him up, impound his vehicle and toss the key. Possibly for speeding.
Despite his vast knowledge of dos and don’ts, Jimmy had no proper license. And his mother knew it. He wondered why she’d even let him leave. Surely, she’d recognized the call to explore had overpowered his capacity to resist, he believed. His response to obvious temptation needed to be tested, he suspected. He was clearly failing. But, undaunted, he decided to proceed.
Abruptly, Jimmy slammed on his brake — stopping only inches from a passing couple with no crosswalk. “Stupid pedestrians,” he muttered beneath his breath. He sounded just like his dad, he thought, and donned a twisted grin. Memories of his father’s shaking fist and the car’s horn blasting inattentive plodders made the unexpected encounter almost enjoyable. “Look where you’re going,” he yelled. He didn’t want the walkers to realize that he’d been easily rattled.
“I’ll just go down to the corner and get some gas,” he announced to no one in particular. He had no willing passenger. But, when he eventually arrived at the station’s location, the ground was occupied — by a fair queen and her massive castle. The grumpy monarch calmly bid him adieu before ordering sizeable guards to chase the traitorous trespasser who’d rather drive than work for her.
“Dinner!” Jimmy’s mom shouted out his bedroom window.
He wasn’t allowed to pass the edge of the parking lot. And the loyal servants were forbidden a voyage which included invading Mr. Connor’s decorated porch by the base of the concrete steps. A formal declaration of war would have been required. Jimmy stuck out his tongue.
“Wait till recess,” Tommy said.
As he picked up his plastic bike, Jimmy hoped his schoolmate’s memory remained short during the glorious day. Then, he’d brave the roads again with wavering confidence. — All first grade royalty and commoners alike were condemned to separate homes or the protection of an ancient peacekeeping escort after dark.