76 - Magic

Submitted by Ken Watts on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 07:47

Al sat in the driver's seat of the ambulance, his cap pulled down low.

The radio blared Garth Brooks, and the heat of the day baked into his skin, making him drowsy. He liked the heat. He liked the driving beat of the music. He liked the way the inside of his hat smelled—a mixture of cloth and sweat. His finger tapped the gearshift lightly in time to the music.

The passenger door opened and closed Jonesy was back.

Al yawned and reached up to tilt his cap back.

"You remember the fries this time?"

Jonesy didn't answer.

He sat up, and looked around.

Jonesy wasn't in the ambulance. Puzzled, he looked over at the hamburger stand. Jonesy was there, still standing in line. A little ball of anxiety began to form somewhere at the base of Al's throat. He looked in his rear-view mirror.

The Crazy was gone.

He yanked his door open and jumped outside. Behind the ambulance, the Crazy was limping across the street.

For one of the few times in his life, Al wanted desperately to do something. He just couldn't figure out what. The lump of anxiety had sunk to the center of his chest now, and it was throbbing.

The Crazy was across the street, right in front of a bus, which had stopped to take on passengers.

Al started after him, then stopped. He started to climb back in the ambulance, then changed his mind and got out again. He took a tentative step toward Jonesy, then backed up. He gawked, open-mouthed, at the Crazy again.

Finally, he decided to yell.


Jonesy came running, juggling a bag of burgers and a tray of drinks. He almost dropped them, but managed to set them on the hood instead.

"What's wrong?"

Al pointed helplessly across the street, and Jonesy looked, just in time to see the Crazy disappear around the front of the bus. The driver closed the door, and the bus pulled away.

There was no one standing on the other side—only two women sitting on the bench, waiting for another bus.

Al swallowed.

"Where did he go?"

Jonesy gave him that strange look again. It always came just before Jonesy said something really stupid.

"Gee, Al, I don't know. It must be magic."

Right. Magic.

Jonesy pushed past Al, into the driver's seat.

He waved Al around to the other side.

"Get in. You're riding shotgun."

Al got in. He didn't want to argue when Jonesy was acting strange like this.

They pulled out and fell in just behind the bus, which was going about five miles an hour. The bus wasn't getting away, but they weren't exactly catching it either.

Al had an idea.

"Should we use the siren?"

Jonesy gave him that strange look again.

"Oh, I think so, Al. This is going to be a real high speed chase."