OK, Kiddies, another story to illustrate the randomness of a writing career. This was about the 3rd story I had ever written and I submitted this story to the Writers Digest Magazine national short story contest in 2010 – And to my stunning surprise, it received an HONORABLE MENTION in May, 2010. So my first reaction is, Hey, I have a good story here! So I kept submitting it, and submitting it, and submitting it, only to receive a wide range of rejections. Finally, in May, 2013, it was accepted at Over My Dead Body, with great feedback. Thank you ODB (a great group to work with)! It just shows the random subjectiveness of getting your stories accepted.
“Stop dicking with the damn gun,” Leshawne said to Jason who was seating next to him in the front seat, irritated at the way Jason was flicking the safety of the cheap imitation .38 Smith & Wesson on and off, on and off. “You’re going to fuck up and shoot your stupid balls off.” Truth was that he was less worried about Jason shooting his balls off than he was about getting the gun back in one piece. He had lent it to Jason when they had gotten into the car and was now sorry he had.
Jason responded by giving him the glare, the prison don’t-fuck-with-me glare that was supposed to put people in their place, but Jason had never been in prison (yet) and he was only 14 years old and still cursed with baby cheeks and soft blue eyes and smooth skin, so the glare came off as a teenage pout that wouldn’t even intimidate his own baby sister back at the house.
They were cruising down the boulevard waiting for a sucker to flick his lights at them. Jerome was in the back seat saying nothing and looking mean and menacing.
Sitting next to him was Washington, Jason’s cousin, who was smoking what he said was weed but smelled like wet hay. But it worked for him as he was giggling and talking to himself and only now and then focusing on what was going on around him, which at this moment caused him to repeat, “Shoot your stupid balls off,” leading him into another giggling fit, which told Jason that he was not going to get much back up from his cousin tonight, no matter what happened.
Lashawne continued to drive, growing irritated at all of them. They were not respecting his vehicle. He felt someone should compliment him on the smooth ride, the comfort, and the sound system of the slick dark green Lincoln Navigator SUV. He had boosted it on the street last night and liked it so much that he had even gone over to New Jersey to switch some plates from another car. That would confuse the cops for a day or two, at least.
The plan for tonight was simple: They would drive around until some jerk flicked his lights at them in a well meaning effort to tell them that they were driving without their lights on and then they would follow him until Leshawne could corner the sucker with the SUV, then Jason would earn his bones by jumping out of the SUV to shoot the unlucky driver in the head.
Following that they would celebrate with a few beers, maybe smoke some of that cheap weed that Washington was inhaling, then take Jason downtown to get the tattoo on the forearm of the devil’s head with bleeding fangs with KD underneath and, finally, find some sisters to get him laid, making him one of them, a man and a full member of the righteously feared KillDevil gang.
The wait wasn’t long. They had barely gone four blocks when a blue Ford Taurus coming across the intersection flicked its lights, twice, as if angry at them for driving around without their lights on.
Leshawne didn’t say a word. He just cranked the SUV around into a tight U turn right in the middle of the intersection, ignoring the other cars honking at them, then hurried his way through traffic to catch up to the Taurus.
“You gonna do this, Jason?” Jerome asked in an intimidating voice that would not accept no as an answer.
“He’s gonna do it,” Leshawne said, impatient now, not taking his eyes off the Taurus a few cars in front of him.
“He, he, he, My cuz Jason is going to do this, ain’t you, Cuz?” Washington giggled.
Jason flicked the safety off and on, off and on, staring at the Taurus.
“I’m gonna pass him and then cut him off at the next intersection,” Leshawne warned, pulling the SUV out into the left lane.
But as they passed the Taurus Jason said, “Oh shit, it’s a woman!”
Jerome sneered, “So?”
“I thought it was gonna be a dude, not some old white woman!”
“Who give’s a fuck?”
“Shoot your stupid balls off, he, he, he.”
“She looks like one of the teachers over at middle school!”
“Cut her off, Leshawne,” Jerome ordered.
Leshawne swerved far left and then cut back hard to the right to stop
perpendicular in front of the Taurus, T-boning her to a stop. There was a screech of brakes and an angry horn.
“This ain’t right. It oughta be some dude.”
“Just shut up and do it, Jason. Now!”
Jason shrugged, expressing his indifference, and opened the door to step down
from the passenger seat of the SUV, flicking off the safety catch and holding the .38 straight out.
Then nothing went as expected.
The woman behind the wheel didn’t flinch, didn’t shield herself with her hands, nor try to back her car away. Instead she stomped on the accelerator and rocketed the car forward directly at Jason, who barely managed to leap out of the way before the Taurus smashed into the side of the SUV, exactly at the spot where he had been standing.
Jason tripped when he jumped out the way and fell hard onto the street next to the SUV but quickly scrambled to his feet, feeling dazed, and watched in wonder as the woman back up, before realizing that she just coming at him again. He yanked the door open and dove into the perceived safety of the passenger seat of the SUV. The Lincoln rocked violently a split second later as the Taurus slammed into its side.
“What the fuck is going on?” Leshawne screamed.
“She’s trying to kill me!” Jason screamed back.
Jerome cursed, “That dumb bitch!”
“Jesus, she’s coming again!” Washington shouted, joining the others in reality.
The SUV rocked a third time before he could finish the sentence.
“She’s destroying my car!” LeShawne shouted.
“That woman has some anger problems,” Washington noted.
“Turn around and get out of here,” Jerome ordered.
“Where’s my gun?” Washington asked, fumbling through his baggy clothes. “I’ll show her. Where’s my fucking gun?”
Leshawne tried to reverse the SUV to straighten it into the street but Jason was climbing on top of gear console trying to get away from the bashing on the Ford Taurus. Jerome was shouting, “Move, Move, Move!” while Washington found his gun, But he pulled it out too hard and accidentally squeezed the trigger as he got it out, blowing a hole into through the roof, causing everyone in the car to grab their ears from the blast. “Oh, shit, sorry, sorry,” he muttered.
Leshawne managed to push Jason off the gear console and straightened the SUV but the woman rammed him from behind before he could get started.
“I’ve had enough of this shit,” Jerome said, pulling out his own gun and firing over the back seat through the SUV, blowing out the rear window. But the SUV was so much higher that it passed harmlessly over the Taurus’ roof.
“Oh. Man, my car, my car,” Leshawne whined.
The woman rammed the rear once again, jolting them hard.
“Stop the car,” Jerome said, his voice evil incarnate. He opened the door and
stepped down to directly face the Taurus, his gun in his hand. But the woman swerved around the SUV, slam banging the side of both cars as she straight for him. He jumped back into the SUV just as she tore off its door at high speed.
Washington was waving his gun around, yelling, “Oh, shit, Oh, shit,” and then aimed it out the side door that no longer existed and fired again.
“Oh Ow, Oh Ow, you just shot me in the fucking foot, you sorry son of a bitch!” Jerome yelled.
“Oh shit, man. Sorry. Sorry.”
The Taurus stopped 100 feet in from of the SUV.
“Now what is she doing?” Leshawne asked in utter amazement.
Jason peeked over the dashboard and saw smoke spinning off the Taurus’ rear tires. “She’s going to ram us with her trunk,” he said, totally impressed. “I saw this on ESPN. The Demolition Derby. She is gonna smash in our radiator so we can’t drive no more!”
“Where’s my gun?” Leshawne shouted at Jason. “Shoot the bitch while she is in front of us!”
“I don’t have it! I don’t have it! I musta dropped it in the street when she tried to run over me!”
The Taurus smashed full speed into them, crumpling the trunk of the Taurus but shoving the SUV radiator back into its engine compartment. The Lincoln Navigator died in a hiss of steam and a grinding of metal as the woman pulled away. She again stopped 100 feet in front of them and starting spinning her wheels for another backward bash. Jason was hiding under the dashboard, fumbling with his cell phone. Leshawne was holding his broken wrist to fight back against the pain but managed to ask, “Who the hell you calling?”
“The cops. Before the dumb bitch kills us.”
The cops were already arriving on the scene and it didn’t take them long to sort out the situation. The four men from the SUV were taken into custody, two of them in an ambulance. Later, when both vehicles were pulled over to the side of the road with cops kicking debris off the street surface and waving cars past the flashing squad cars, one of the older cops wrapped a blanket around the shoulders of the woman and handed her cup of coffee, then asked, “Why did you do that, Mrs. Davis? That was an extraordinarily dangerous thing to do.”
Mrs. Davis did not respond for a long moment, as if searching for the words to explain it but then glanced at the forearm of the older cop and smiled when she saw the tattoo USMC.
“What was the first thing the Marines taught you to do when caught in an ambush?”
The older cop hesitated, puzzled by the strange question, then said, “Attack. Don’t try to run away because you would drop your defense and there may other ambushers behind you or to another side of you. And most ambushers do not expect you to attack into the ambush, so you have the element of surprise, taking theirs away. That’s Marine Corps doctrine. But has that got to do with this?”
Mrs. Davis let the blanket slide off her shoulders, then lifted the short sleeve of her blouse to show him the shoulder tattoo with its globe and anchor and the letters USMC.
“Semper fi, Mac.”