Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Road Tripper by Steve Ormosi

This was a story I wrote shortly after watching Natural Born Killers.  Obviously I'm not Tarantino, but I liked this story and it throws a twist on the classic two people running from the law formula.  I think I named the characters the way I did for the one joke in the 4th paragraph.  If the story was a little bit longer and I'd had more time to think about it, I might have changed that, but on a fresh read through, I don't think I mind it much.  It's important to have some fun with your characters, right?


We’d left three days previous with no idea where to go, but a burning need to get there.  Jill, Jack and me, Johnny, we were quite a threesome.  In those first days we stopped everywhere we could, taking pictures like mad while we hopped, hummingbird-like, from place to place.  It was an adventure that was admittedly grim in origin, but we were determined to have fun.

Road trip “largests” from the first three days:
Ball of rubber bands
Pizza (twice, in two different spots)
Dog (Jack said he’s seen bigger)
Stretch of road between bathrooms (unofficial, but I’m calling Guinness)

Eventually we broke down and coughed up the money for a hotel room.  That was last night, now we’re picking up and getting ready to get on the road again.

Jack and Jill go up the hill to fetch a pack of cigarettes while I wait in the car with the window down staring into the sun, daring it to blind me.  Eventually, I relent and throw my sunglasses on and light a joint.  Through the large, blue amoeba in my vision, I see a man approaching me.

“Howdy,” he says as he nears.

“’Lo,” I shoot back, “Nice day, huh?”

“Always a nice day when you’re making money.” He says as the image of him resolves a bit more.  Then I notice he is pulling a gun from his waistband. 

I become hyper-aware of every detail around me.  How had I let my guard down so horrendously?  I bite down on the jay and reach for my own gun but it’s a bit too far and he says, “Hey, hey, hey.  Slow it down there, Dirty Harry.  Just pass me your wallet and we won’t have any brains on the dash.”  Wisps of smoke tickle my nostrils as I reach for my pocket, slowly, and try not to audibly breathe my sigh of relief.  Only a hold up, I think to myself.  Thank god.

As I’m handing the would-be-robber my wallet, there is a bang.  Time slows down in situations like this.  One has time to take in all of the details of one’s environment.  Brain is on my lips.  I taste the blood and gray matter of the man robbing me.  His hand remains for a moment, comically outstretched, to receive my wallet, though a glance at his face shows, with no question, that his lights are out.  By the time he starts to slump, I’ve ducked and kicked myself to the other side of the car, desperately reaching for my gun.  I know it is under the seat, but it’s strapped in.  After what seems like eternity but is probably in the range of three to four seconds, the strap relents and the gun falls into my hand.  I pull it out and whirl to the window where I see…

…Jill with her gun pointed back at me.  I put my arms down at my side and laugh.  She winks at me and says, “We better get going, Daytripper.  I’m sure someone heard that one and we can’t be long for the fuzz.”

“Who says ‘fuzz’ anymore?”  Jack asks, climbing into the driver’s seat, “Get in, slowpoke.”

“Shut up, Jackie.”  Jill spits back as she opens the door and enters the car.

I’m still laying on the ground giggling to myself, almost out of breath, “Took you long enough,” I manage to get out between spasms.

“They didn’t have my brand,” Jill says as Jack puts the car into reverse.  We pull out of the parking lot and set back out on the highway.

I wipe the insides of my attacker off of my face and pull myself up onto the seat, picking the joint up from where it has fallen on the floor as I go.  We’re on our way again, back into the great beyond.

Days pass and we avoid hotels from then on.  The stick up was a wakeup call to us.  We need to be more careful.  Sleeping in the car is uncomfortable, but it definitely beats a double tap to the temple.  We keep up our site seeing though.

Road trip “Bests” eaten along the way:
Waffles (This might’ve even been true)
Hot Dogs
Egg Salad
Pizza (Not even close)

This is the sixth night of our little road trip and I'm on the lookout.

I stare off into the darkness from my perch on the hood of the car.  I hear Jack snoring away inside and grimace.  It is about an hour until his shift and I am counting every minute.  The passenger side door opens and Jill steps out.

“Hey, Johnny, how’s it going out here?”

I turn to her, “Slow.  What are you doing up?”

“Can’t sleep,” Jill says, “You figure out where we’re going yet?  You know we have to find a way across the border.”

“Yeah, I know.  That border is Swiss cheese, it won’t be a problem.”

She nods, “Think they’ll stop looking for us when we get there?”

“No idea,” I say, “Let’s just get there first.”

Something stops me.  “Did you hear that?” I ask.

“Hear wha…” Jill twists left and yells out in pain.

I jump behind the car and pound on the door, “Jack, wake the hell up.  We’re in it.  Get down and grab your gun.”  I grip my own gun and slowly peek my head out.  A bullet ricochets off the ground feet from my head and I jump back behind cover.

“Jill, you alright, girl?” I ask.

“Pretty fuckin far from alright, Johnny,” she moans.

Then we hear a yell, “Johnny!  I know you’re out there.  Might as well give yourselves up.  You’re surrounded.”

So this is how it ends, me and the gang going out blasting.  Well, we’re sure as hell gonna take as many of these bastards with us as we can.

Road trip scenic landmarks:
Mount Rushmore
Grand Canyon
Four Corners
Pueblo Ruins
Site of the famous last stand of Johnny, Jack and Jill.

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