Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)
TITLE: Shopping Mayhem
By Marlene Bonney
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“Whew! That was a close one,” spinning the driver’s wheel to avoid the looming guardrail, causing the car to spin precariously out of control.
He was chasing me unmercifully now, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with careless abandon. Who was he? What did he want from me? Was this a robbery about to go down? Did he mistake me for someone else? Was I about to become a victim of road rage?
“Crunch!” my back tail light caught the first hit, flashing in protest as I accelerated to get away from this maniac, who apparently was intent on forcing me off course--or worse. My car, although several years old with high mileage, was my pride and joy, having seen me through my high school and college years with nary a scratch and still going strong throughout my career as a sales executive.
“Ouch,” my head banging the headrest into a hard backlash as I suffered another hit in an expertly executed sideswipe that would have challenged Mario Andretti in his hay-day. I groped for my cell phone, trying desperately to keep my eyes on the surrounding traffic simultaneously. Unfortunately, I misjudged the distance between my car and the green Plymouth trying to edge its way past me and my predator. An unintentional jerk and I careened into the Plymouth’s back tire, blowing it out, sending the vehicle into a 180 degree spin before it landed in the ditch. I was relieved to see the driver exiting his maimed car, thankful I had not killed him.
“GREAT--no signal!” tossing the useless phone into the passenger’s seat; then, gathering up all the adrenalin I could muster, I whipped my car around in an attempt to escape this rampage from a mysterious, relentless adversary.
“Phew!” my ragged breathing causing the sweat running down my neck to fall in uncomfortable pools above my protruding stomach, “oh no, here he comes again!”
My hands death-gripped on the steering wheel, I tasted blood, the result of a clenched jaw crashing down on my unsuspecting tongue during the last hit.
This time my assailant was heading toward my side door as I fruitlessly gunned in reverse, hoping to throw him off. And I realized this escapade was nearly at an end, one way or another, much as I wanted to avoid the probable result of my own demise.
Harassed thoughts began to surge through my overtaxed brain while I pushed the accelerator to the floor, visions of my whole life passing and spinning before me, flicking by as quickly through my memory as the trees and scenery playing havoc with my peripheral vision.
“I love you, darling. I’m so sorry for all the times I’ve hurt you,” the hazy sight of her in her wedding gown, the lacy confection dissipating like wispy cotton candy.
“Thank you, Lord, for not ever giving up on me . . .”
“Mom, I’ll be home soon,” as I watched her aging body kneeling at her bedside, praying for a wayward son, “I never told you how much I appreciated your love and discipline . . .”
“Mister! Hey, mister, wake up! It’s my turn now.”
“Wh-what?” I stammered, the bright sunlight blinding my--now opened--eyes.
Slowly, while realization hit, I unfolded my legs from the cramped quarters of the bumper car, following the line of other former drivers exiting the mounting ramp. I hung my head sheepishly, big strong man that I was, still a bit intimidated by my near miss with death. I got into my van to go home, vowing never to reveal the side-stop I had made on the way to the store to pick up groceries for my wife.
Ten miles down the road, it hit me like a ton of bricks: I FORGOT TO STOP AT THE STORE!
“Phew! Now THAT was a close call,” turning down a side street to switch directions.
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