Lab Rat part 82

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

I downshift again. Hitting things costs me speed. I’m kind of in a hurry though. The helicopter is still out there, and I’d just as soon not have to deal with it. I wish the map had an option to include a tunnel or three on the route. Nothing is ever that easy though. “Hey Dad,” I yell to the back. “Do you know how to work any of this stuff?” The dash is cluttered with switches and buttons. Some are labeled. Most aren’t. The passenger seat has a computer, but I’m a little busy to look for a help file.

“What are you looking for?”

“The lights. The siren. Anything to get people out of our damn way!” I jerk the wheel and smash a small pickup out of my way. It goes spinning into oncoming. Cars swerve, and one hits the truck again. It doesn’t look too bad. People get in accidents like that all the time, right? I speed up. Suddenly Jennifer is beside me. Her hair is up in a messy ponytail, and she shines with sweat. She flashes a smile at me and reaches up. My eyes follow her hand.

“Lights.” She points to one switch. “Siren.” Pointing at another. “And this little baby,” she turns a knob on the same row as the last two switches. “This will trip the light sensors. Nothing but greens from now on.” She pats my cheek and she’s gone again.

“Where did you find this woman, Dad?” No one hears me, but that’s just as well. I’m going to hit my quota for dirty looks for the year before the day is out anyway. I flip the lights and the siren on. The sound is obnoxious, but it has the desired effect. I watch as the traffic parts in an almost Biblical fashion. My grin cracks wide open. My phone warns me that I need to be making a left at the next light. I look ahead. Hell yes. It’s green. I wish I had a knob like that in my car. I wish I had a car to have that knob in. I drop down a gear and brake. I crank the wheel hard to the left and lean into the turn. Halfway through the intersection, I stomp on the gas again. “How we doing back there?” I yell. It’s a lot of work to make myself heard over the sound of the open road and the sirens.

“They’re keeping their distance! You find the chopper yet?” Dad yells back.


“You should be worried about that!” Like he needs to tell me. I am worried. Surprises haven’t been going my way recently. The going is much easier for a minute, so I can almost feel it coming when I pass through the next intersection and a cruiser rockets into the driver side rear quarter of the van. We don’t lose any forward momentum, but we take on a whole bunch of extra sideways movement. The van skitters and tires scream in protest as I exit the intersection backwards and keep spinning. I push the clutch in and yank the stick into neutral. I don’t know how to stop a spin, so I don’t even try. I grab my phone and stuff it into my lap, then wait to stop spinning. Waiting gives me plenty of time to swear.

I got a job. I can’t even tell you how happy I am about it. I had three interviews yesterday, and the one I actually liked made me an offer right away. By the time most of you are reading this, I’ll be at work. Hells yes.

In other news, I am having difficulty writing the car chase. Okay, that’s not really news. It has been suggested that I go get in a car chase to gain a little first-hand experience. I like everything about that plan except the consequences. I think the closest I’m going to get is to go out with a friend of mine who does a bit of racing and play around. Until that happens, the chase scene is a string of my best guesses held together by chewing gum and the rule of cool.


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