Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)
TITLE: Stop and Smell the Roses
By Ennis Smith
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“Just be sure to make it here before the deadline, buddy,” Jared responded over the hands-free speaker system. “Get here safe and in one piece, Don. But step on it.”
“Are you kidding? Pedal’s to the metal brother! I’ll be in your office before you know it. This three-hour drive’s about to be cut in half.”
“Awesome! I’ll have the contract ready for your signature, and inform the partners of your arrival. I know it’s a bit premature Don, but I’m gonna go ahead and congratulate you anyway, pal. We stand to make some serious money on this deal.”
“Yeah we do, brother! We’re going to turn that ancient little Mom and Pop business into a real cash-cow, just as soon as I tear down their adjacent Laundromat. I have fast-track plans to…wait…hold on.”
Donny glanced at the dashboard of the speeding car, and watched the colored lights of his extravagant radar detector cycle up, from green, yellow, to red. He chuckled, clutched the transmission, and up-shifted the silver bullet into sixth gear. The already screaming engine bellowed a guttural howl. Donny’s Corinthian leather-clad seat smacked his back, as the car accelerated toward 175mph. He caught a brief glimpse of a Michigan State Police cruiser pulling out of a perch, and laughed, knowing there was no chance of the cop catching his car.
“Everything okay, Don?” Jared’s voice was concerned over the speaker system.
“Nothing I can’t handle, or buy my way out of. God himself couldn’t delay this deal going down, at this point,” Donny yelled arrogantly.
“That’s what I want to hear. I’ll see you soon, pal. Stay above the radar!”
Donny thumbed an intercom button on the steering wheel, disconnecting the call to Chicago.
“Money, money, money; here I come!”
Suddenly, a small explosion echoed through the cab of the silver coupe. The car’s back-end wobbled slightly, then aggressively. Donny quickly applied the brakes but the rear end pitched sideways, sending the car careening across the two lane highway, toward the gravel shoulder. Whipping the steering wheel and downshifting, he over corrected. The car’s momentum swung the bullet toward the concrete median.
The sound of the crash was horrific. The car’s driver side collided with the concrete barrier. Airbags deployed, obstructing Donny’s view of the road ahead, as the speeding car lurched off the barrier, toward the right lane of traffic.
“Jesus, help me!” he screamed.
The car immediately slid to stop, in the gravel of the right shoulder. Donny sat clutching the sides of his seat, engrossed in shock. The cab of the car was smothered in white powder, from the ejected air bags around the interior frame. The driver’s side door was suddenly ripped open. Fresh air, mingled with the smell of melted rubber, wafted into the car.
“Son, are you alright?” A voice yelled from what seemed to be a far off distance, right beside Donny. “Don’t move! You’ve been in an accident. Try to remain calm.”
Donny’s stomach lurched. He quickly clicked his seatbelt latch and fell out of the car to the gravel, on hands and knees. His body racked with dry heaves. Once he composed himself, he slowly looked up into the face of the figure standing over him. A blue-clad Michigan State police office smiled warmly down at him.
“Are you okay, son? Any fractures or cuts? Anything broken besides your pride?”
“Wha…what,” Donny mustered. “What did you say?”
“It was a flat, you know. Your back tire spontaneously exploded. At that speed, you’re blessed to be alive, Donald.”
Donny dropped his head toward the ground, overcome by another bout of drive heaves. He could barely prop himself up on his hands. Then it hit him. How did the cop know his tire ruptured? How did the cop even know his name? Before Donny could look up, the officer’s voice rang in both ears.
“Your meeting has been cancelled, Donald. You won’t make the deadline. I have other plans for the tiny storefront. By the way…you’re welcome.”
Donny looked up to find the officer gone. In the distance, a stout gentleman ran toward Donny cautiously.
“Sir, are you alright,” the man yelled.
“Where’s the cop that was just here,” Donny asked.
“Sir, I’m the first one to make it to you. Are you alright? My wife’s calling 911.”
Donny looked to the sky.
“Thank you Jesus,” he said.
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