Thursday, April 10, 2008

Test Drive - Episode Eighteen: Physics

Previously on Test Drive

Hombre fired another bullet in frustration, hardly expecting to hit the hot air balloon drifting quickly away to the south...
...but, two hundred yards up, the bullet nevertheless managed to catch its target, slicing up through the wicker between Red’s scarlet fuck-me pumps, just missing the tips of her toes and the mouth of the balloon’s multicolored nylon envelope before reaching the top of its trajectory and arcing back earthward.

Hearing the near miss zing of the shot, Red whirled around to return fire...Frank lunged forward, grabbing the silver Beretta, trying to wrestle it from her grip...

...while, far below, Hombre heard the crack and whistle of another bullet and ducked for cover ‘round the corner of the grounded Spitfire, rushing for the crumpled Jaguar.

“STOP!” Ray-Ray hollered from somewhere behind him, squeezing off another shot. “THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING!”

A trim, thin-haired man was slumped unconscious in the passenger seat of the Jaguar and the keys were, thankfully, dangling in the ignition when Hombre slid behind the wheel and cranked the uncooperative ignition, snarling, “Come on...come on, you limey piece o’ shit...”

Then, with a shudder and a groan like a Welshman having sex, the Jaguar stirred to life, shrieking and scraping as it disentangled itself from the fuselage of the Spitfire. Pulling clear, Hombre jammed the gearbox into drive, ducking low when Ray-Ray blew out the back and side windows before while he stomped the accelerator, thundering across the airfield in pursuit of Red’s balloon.

Ray-Ray emptied the clip of his back-up pistol, hobbling after the car until the pain in his wounded leg forced him to retreat back, defeated, to the front seat of his cruiser. Grabbing the handset of the Crown Vic’s mounted VHF radio, the young patrolman watched the Jaguar and the hot air balloon as they disappeared into the desert, vaguely aware of the growing din of police sirens shrieking towards him along the distant I-10 frontage road. “291 to Dispatch!”
“Go, 291,” the radio gargled.
“Dispatch,” Ray-Ray began, weary and light-headed from the accumulated toll of his injuries, “you ain’t gonna believe this shit...” He paused as a momentary glint of light drew his gaze to the distant balloon...
...where Frank had just that second managed to curl his fingers around the trigger guard of the shiny Beretta, prying it slowly from Red’s grip...
...when the feral redhead suddenly drove the top of her skull against the underside of the ex-con’s jaw, forcing his teeth into his tongue.
Frank howled in shock and pain, spitting blood, but tightened his grip on the gun, eyes so fierce
Red found herself fearfully stammering, “ wouldn’t hit a girl, right?”
His answer came fast in a return head-butt that loosened Red’s grip, knocking her sideways and turning her forehead scarlet. “Okay,” Frank scowled, breathing hard, clutching the weapon, victorious, “okay, now...”
“Frank, listen...”
“Shut up!” Frank snapped, adrenalin turbo-charging his anger. “Now how do we land this fucking thing?”
“How the heck should I know?”
The answer was extremely displeasing to Frank, who in turn could only counter, “I thought you were the balloon expert!”
“Why would you think that?” Red smiled, infuriating.
“Never mind,” Frank snapped, moving to examine the valves on the burner, gun trained on Red.
“This here...this controls the altitude, right?”
Before Red could answer, Frank grabbed the larger of the two valves and cranked it counter-clockwise, reducing the flame to a flicker then, when that seemed to produce no immediate result, he grabbed a lever connected to the vent valve at the top of the nylon envelope, giving it a hard tug that caused the balloon to drop forty feet in the four seconds it took Red to leap forward to crank the burner to full, halting their descent with a bone-rattling lurch. Frank, stomach in throat, instinctively grabbed for the edge of the basket...
...instantly regretting it as the Beretta tumbled from his grip over the side, shrinking to a silver speck as it fell before hitting the distant ground with a discharge that blew a buzzard from its perch on a Saguaro cactus a dozen yards away.
Red took a deep breath, then caught Frank’s wild eye, giggling, “Guess you skipped physics, huh?”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red's a skank..I HATE her!

10:02 AM  

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