“Damn it!” Sarah flinched at the sudden loud wail. She put the multi-tool back in her fanny-pack, pulled the book out from between her thighs, unlocked the door, turned the knob, yanked the door open, and ran into the garage.
She smacked the garage door button on the wall with her hand, assuming the garage light would come on and the garage door would open while she got in the car. As she threw the car’s driver door open, the garage light was still off and the door was still closed.
She turned around, ran back to the button, and pushed it again. And again. The garage door stayed closed.
“Crap!” Sarah turned around, ran to the car, jumped in, and slammed the door shut behind her. She set the book on the front passenger’s seat, jammed the key into the ignition, and turned it. She looked at the closed door in the rearview mirror, shifted the car into reverse, and stomped on the gas pedal.
The tires squealed and smoked as they spun in-place before finally gripping the concrete beneath them well enough to pull the car out backward.
The rear bumper slammed into the garage door.
The door bulged out at the impact spot but the hinges and the track the rollers that moved the door up and down on were too strong to let the door fall down.
Sarah hit the brake, shifted into drive, coasted forward until she almost hit the garage wall in front of her, shifted back into reverse, turned around to look out the rear window, and gunned the engine.
The tires smoked and squealed again. This time, the car picked up enough speed to impale the garage door with enough force to knock it off its hinges and break the roller track.
The car backed into the driveway with the door’s impact point now molded around the car’s rear bumper. The bottom of the garage door scraped the concrete causing red, orange, and yellow sparks to light up the driveway as the car turned and stopped, now sideways halfway down the driveway. The gate by the street was still closed.
Sarah coughed and choked as the smell of burnt rubber went up her nose. Her eyes started to water. She tried to wipe the tears away with the back of her hand. Her vision was still blurry as she looked down for the gearshift to put the car back into drive.
That’s when she heard the most primal, guttural, scream she’d ever heard in her life. She looked up with tears still in her eyes. The echo from the savage scream faded off into the night, replaced by the sound of bare feet relentlessly slapping the pavement.
The thief charged out of the garage in his underwear holding a putter in his right hand. All he needed was to have his face painted blue and he would have looked like an extra filming a war scene from the movie Braveheart.
He was about ten yards away and closing in fast when he yelled, “Get the hell out of my car!”
He got a running jump and flew through the air. His bare feet thumped dents into the car’s hood. He dove forward and landed on the windshield.
He reached up with his left hand and hooked his fingers inside the open moon roof, locking his grip on the car. His right foot was curled over the driver’s side mirror. His left foot was mounted on the windshield with the wiper digging into his heel. His torso completely blocked her view.
He looked into the car through the moon roof opening, first seeing Sarah’s face, then the book in the passenger’s seat. “Bitch!” he screamed, getting even more furious than before. “You stole my book!”
He pulled himself up and tried to reach into the car with his right hand, which still had the putter in it.
Sarah took her foot off the brake pedal. The car lurched backward.
He lost his balance. The putter hit the rubber where the windshield met the roof and bounced out of his hand.
She stepped back on the brake.
He grabbed the inside of the moon roof with his now free right hand. He pulled himself up the windshield and held on with his left hand, now reaching into the car with his right. “You stole my book!”
Sarah lunged out with both her hands and grabbed his right arm at the wrist. “You stole it first!” She twisted his wrist as hard as she could one way, then the other.
He let go of the moon roof with his left hand and reached in, trying to grab her arms.
She stepped off the brake again. The car lurched backward.
He lost his balance, reached out, and grabbed the moon roof with the fingertips on his left hand.
She took her right hand off his wrist and shifted the car’s transmission into drive.
He was strong enough to pull his right hand free from her left. When it was loose, he shot it forward, trying to grab her hair.
She jerked her head back and slammed on the gas.
He hung on with the fingertips on his left hand. His right hand reached out for anything and found only air. His torso pushed against the windshield. His right foot slipped off the driver’s mirror. The fingers on his left hand ached with the stress and pressure of having to support almost all of his body weight. “Stop!”
“Fine!” She slammed on the brake.
His eyes went wide. His fingers gave out. His grip disappeared. He screamed as he slid the entire length of the hood on his left butt cheek and kept going. His feet went over his head with his arms out to the side. His momentum let him defy gravity for the first few feet. Then, not.
His left shoulder bounced off the front lawn, turning his body almost sideways. His back hit, bouncing him up in the air again. His legs went up and over him. Finally, he landed on his chest, face down. And didn’t move.
Sarah had her hands clasped together in front of her and started hyperventilating. “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.”
She looked on the lawn; the car’s headlights shining on his absolutely still body. “Please, don’t be dead. Please, don’t be dead. Please, don’t be dead.”
He mustered up all his strength and managed to push his head up off the ground. The headlights blinded him but he knew she was looking at him. He snarled at her.
Sarah saw his angry expression and felt relieved. “Thank you, God. Thank you so much. I promise try to be a better person. Thank you. I’m very grateful for your help. Thank you.” She turned on the left turn signal, spun the steering wheel, and stepped on the gas.
The garage door was still impaled on her rear bumper, scraping and sparking down the driveway. The car’s engine revved as she sped up toward the still closed gate at the end of the driveway.
The car hit the gate, cracking the metal rolling track, denting the front bumper, and putting a couple of tennis-ball-sized holes in the front grill.
Inside, the driver’s airbag exploded open in front of Sarah. She flinched, squinting her eyes shut while turning her head to the side. The airbag barely brushed her on the left side of her chin.
She opened her eyes and saw the book bouncing in the passenger’s seat. She reached over and set the book back further in the seat. A loud clang made her turn around and look out the rear window.
The garage door had caught on part of the gate and wrenched itself free from the rear bumper. The car drove over the rest of the collapsed gate, slowed for the turn into the street, then took off into the night.
The young woman with questionable morals had her red dress back on and ran to the thief lying in the grass as fast as her high heels could take her. “Oh, my God, are you okay?”
He made it up to one knee. “She stole my book.”
She put her arm under his arm, letting him lean on her for support as he got to his feet. “Was that your ex-wife or something?”
“No. If it had been my ex-wife, she would’ve driven over me.”
Even though it was Saturday, the office was still open. It was just past ten in the morning when Sarah walked in with a large cup of coffee in one hand and a book bag slung over her shoulder. She gave the weekend receptionist a smile, walked down the hallway to her boss’ open officer door, and knocked.
Fred Banks looked up at her from his chair behind his desk. He was sixty-four, balding, fifteen pounds over the optimum weight for his height, and at the moment, smiling. “Sarah, I wasn’t expecting you until Monday. This must be good news.”
She smirked as she walked into his office. She put the book bag on the chair across from his desk, set her coffee cup on his desk, and blocked his view of the chair by standing in front of it with her back to him.
Sarah reached into the book bag, pulled something out, and put it behind her back as she turned around to face him. She took deliberate, almost ceremonial, steps around his desk until she was behind it, looking down at him.
Smiling and with her hands still behind her back she said, “You have no idea what I had to do to get this damn thing.”
He smiled back at her like a proud father.
Still smiling, she said, “I stole a car.”
His smile didn’t waver. “I didn’t hear that.”
“I drove through a closed garage door that wouldn’t open.”
“I didn’t hear that either.”
“I drove over a closed entrance gate.”
“I’m completely deaf when it comes to hearing what laws my agents have broken in their efforts to retrieve stolen articles.”
“I have rug burns on my elbows and knees from crawling around a bedroom where I was forced to listen to a guy who’s almost as old as you have hot monkey sex with some little hussy who’s younger than me.”
“Wow,” Fred said as he started laughing. “For that last one, I am truly sorry.” He toned down his laugh to a giant smile. “But, tell me you got it.”
She smiled as she brought the book from behind her back and handed it to him. “I got it.”
Fred examined the leather bound book in his hands. He looked at its faded brown color, felt the texture with his fingertips, brought it up to his nose to smell the old, battered leather, and opened it.
He saw the signature on the title page, found a random spot in the back of the book with is index finger and slid his thumb along the edge of the pages, turning them quickly and feeling their slight breeze on his face.
He looked up at her and beamed with pride. “Sarah, you’re the greatest.”
He stood up. They hugged. She wasn’t just an employee, she was the daughter he’d always wanted. He had an actual daughter but she was whiny, disrespectful, married an idiot, and wouldn’t bring the grandkids over to visit often enough. That was the daughter he had. Sarah was nothing like her. Which was why Sarah was the daughter he’d always wanted.
They let go of one another.
“Are you happy?” she asked.
“Good. Now there’s something you have to do for me to make me very happy.”
“Anything for my girl.”
Her smile was half gone as she became a little more serious. “I want Bill’s next assignment.”
Bill was the agency’s top insurance investigator. “What?” Fred said. His smile was gone, replaced by a confused expression. “Sarah, I don’t understand.”
“I want whatever his next assignment is.”
“But… I haven’t assigned him to anything.”
“Okay, that’s fair.” The truth was, that hadn’t occurred to her. Still, she was undeterred. “But whatever our next big case is, it’s mine. I’m just as good of an agent as he is and I deserve to prove myself on some of the more important cases.”
“Sarah, you now I love you but--”
“You know I love you too, but you don’t have one great investigator, you have two. And after everything I’ve done, I deserve a shot at the big time.”
“Sarah, this book is worth half a million dollars.”
“It is. And I got it in less than two weeks. But we both know the only reason you gave me the case was because Bill was busy with that insanely expensive stolen vase from the Ming Dynasty.”
“That wasn’t the only reason. He has a strong lead on that, by the way.”
“I’m sure he does, but the next big case we get is mine.” She stopped for a second, then added, “And don’t even think about bringing in one of those yahoos from the Denver office.” She stuck her hand out so they could shake on it. “Deal?”
He couldn’t help but smile at her. “Sarah Jones, you have my solemn word of honor,” he said taking her hand in his and shaking it. “The next time I need a yahoo, you’re my only call.”
Thanks for reading. If I get enough subscribers, I'll put up a full-length novel a chapter at a time. If not, you can always find my stuff on Amazon. Just put Lucian Conspiracy in the search box and my thrillers will show up.
It's my understanding that Tapas is for young people. The Kindle App is free for laptops, smartphones, Ipads, and tablets. All you'd pay for is the books. I've yet to hear of a parent who didn't support their child's desire to read more. Fair Warning: the novels have adult content, mostly violence and 2 of them, some profanity. Not much sex stuff.
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