A Short Story by Richard Bleil
The day was perfect for a drive. It was sunny and cool, a wonderful day for me to hit the road and go for a drive, something I tend to do to clear my head. As is my habit, I picked a direction and just drove. When I do this, there is no destination, and no plan. If I want to stop, I stop, and if I want to turn, I turn, but mostly I just drive.
Anything I happen to see on the way is purely coincidental since I usually don’t have a destination. Shops, restaurants, tourist sites, parks; whatever I would see I would see, and whenever I wanted to stop, I would just stop.
The last time I was out I managed to pick up a tail. This is rather unexpected, since I drive without a destination in mind. It’s possible that coincidentally somebody might head the same direction that I do, but when I turned, they would turn, and when I sped up, they would speed up. It struck me as odd, but I wasn’t too worried about it. I looked at them in the rear view mirror and saw two people in the car as the thumping from the base of their music rattled my windows. They certainly seemed to be in an animated discussion with one another but didn’t think much about it.
I ended up on a small two-lane highway, with them following close behind. When there was a passing lane, I would move to the right so they could get around me, but they never did. In fact, one time the car following them passed both of us on this lane.
The road was twisty and fairly slow with few passing opportunities. When one presented itself, I thought I’d give them another chance and slowed down so they could pass. That’s when a “thud” and lurch let me know that they had hit my vehicle. I turned on my blinker and prepared to pull over to exchange insurance information when again I looked in the mirror. This time, the passenger was holding up a handgun. I watched as he leaned out of his window and pointed it at me.
I don’t have a sports car, but I sped up as quickly as I could, and they kept pace. I heard “POP POP CRACK POP” and realized they were shooting at me and one round connected with my vehicle. I began swerving so they couldn’t get a clear shot as our tires squealed and we nearly drove somebody off of the road as we tried to out drive and out maneuver one another.
I didn’t know their intention, and remembered I had my phone. I fumbled at nearly a hundred miles an hour to get it out and unlock it. I managed to dial 911, and fortunately, reception was good enough for me to connect. I explained the situation, verified my license plate and described their vehicle. They laughed as another POP took out my rear window. I finally saw a highway sign and told them I was heading North on route 39 while looking desperately for some kind of landmark. Finally, I saw mile sign 122, and they knew right where I was.
Unfortunately, Highway Patrol would be awhile to catch up with us. I stayed on the line, speaking with the emergency dispatcher struggling with holding the phone and controlling the car in the chaos and speed while keeping her informed as the incident developed. She kept me informed as to when I could expect to see Highway Patrol and giving advice.
Finally, we passed them.
As we drove past, they were pulled off on a side road. As we did, the patrol car pulled out and turned on its sirens. Only one cruiser was there, but dispatch informed me that more were on the way. The car following me hit the gas and passed me as I began to slow to let the Highway Patrol pursue. I didn’t think much of it, but they slowed with me. As I finally pulled over, they turned off their siren and pulled behind me. I guess I didn’t think much about it, but I assumed they had another plan for the car that was chasing me. I hung up my phone, assuming they were going to check on me.
My heart was racing like I’d never felt before. I turned off my engine, and tried desperately to catch my breath, leaning my head back and closing my eye. The next thing I know, I heard a voice say, “License insurance, and Registration please.”
I jerked up. “Oh, sure,” I said. I reached for the requested documents, assuming it was just their standard protocol, and began recounting the story, when the officer said something that frightened me to my core.
“I’m going to cite you for using your cell phone without using a hands-free device.”