This spawned from an inadvertent challenge from givemehistory who wrote:
I know what I need.
Something that kills.
A good cry.
A rock concert.
An illegal car chase.
A Cross-Country Adventure, Sort Of
The summer of '86 was so damn hot that, to Frank Darcy, it felt like it was dripping off his skin in beads of spring's forgotten lust. Every day for the past month, he'd go up to his rooftop and lie on a peach-colored bathroom towel, with a utility-sized umbrella, black, wedged between a pair of Doc Marten boots and sigh at the inadequate shade.
He wished he hadn't flipped off the sun when he was in the sixth grade in an attempt to be cool in front of Rob Mckenna, and would have begged for forgiveness, but he didn't think the sun was taking apologies just then.
It occurred to him when he was buying a Coke from Sam, the hotdog vendor.
At the corner of the street, a teen was sitting in the passenger of a sleek European number with his feet on the dash, and the Rolling Stones playing so loud that Frank could hear it from where he stood. It reminded him of his first concert: he was seventeen and felt so radical in his extra large shirt, shredded jeans and fingerless gloves. Frank snorted, even though his nerve endings tingled in remembrance, and light-headed thoughts pooled sluggishly in his brain.
He wondered what kind of deck a car like that would have. He wondered how much a car like that would go for. He wondered who the hell thought to paint the damn thing orange.
"Nah, I wouldn't go for it," Sam said from over his shoulder.
"What?" he asked, startled.
"All that leather. It's gotta be sticker than hell in this heat."
Frank was halfway down the street when he realized a car like that would probably have air conditioning.
"Your going to get us fucking killed!" the teen yelled. (The boy said his name was Charlemagne, but Frank couldn't say that with a straight face. Charles the Great, indeed.)
"I'm only going 25mph," Frank replied mildly.
"I mean that my brother is going to kill us both when he finds us," he said with a hint of sulkiness in his tone.
Frank supposed a car chase would have been much more exciting if he could actually see the other car. That he hopped two states already probably didn't help. "You could have gotten out at the gas station," Frank reminded him.
"At that hick town? No way. I would have been sodomized to death!" Charlemagne sniffed. "Did you see the way that guy was leering at me?"
Frank rolled his eyes.
Somewhere in the Midwest, Charlemagne took out a pack of Chesterfields--"My brother never lets me smoke in the car, but I figure it we get caught I can blame it on you."
Frank shrugged. He supposed that was true.
"So where are we going, anyway?" He asked. "Mexico?"
"I hadn't really thought about it," Frank told him.
"Jesus, you really are clueless, aren't you?" Charlemagne said, as he rolled down his window to toss his stub out. Then he grinned. "I have an idea."
"Ow, fuck! You trying to kill me or something?" Charlemagne asked accusingly, and swatted Frank's hand away.
Frank glanced at the soapy cloth clutched in his hand. "It's just disinfectant."
"Yeah, well. Keep it away."
Frank raised an eyebrow.
"OK, I admit it! A bar fight probably wasn't the best idea," the younger boy said, his shoulders hunched.
Actually, Frank didn't think it was that horrible of an idea. Being cooped up in a car for hours made punching that smug saxophone player in the mouth very satisfying. Still, if he had chosen a place to get into a bar fight, it wouldn't have been a lounge bar.
"Change the channel, will you?" Charlemagne said, though he did it himself before Frank could comply. Rod Stewart, Chicago, George Michael--"Is there anything on right now?" he demanded to either Frank or the radio.
"...a fire swept across the Great Plains today as..."
"Damn it! Where's the fucking Stones? Or Guns 'N Roses? Led Zeppelin?" he grumbled loudly.
Frank changed it back.
"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing? This is still my car, you know! Well, my brother's. But it practically belongs to me next..."
The radio blocked out the rest of Charlemagne's tirade: "Investigators believe that the fire began with a cigarette stub that someone tossed out their window. We'll be back with more news after a word from our sponsors."
"So this is a motel, huh?" The younger boy surveyed the room with a critical eye. "Well, at least the bed is relatively clean," he said, leaping onto it and bouncing slightly. "Er...so where are you sleeping?"
Frank gathered up the comforter and a pillow, and neatly set up a little sleeping place at the side of the bed.
"Can I see your gun?"
"No." It was the first thing Frank said in twenty miles.
The boy smiled. "I promise I won't use it against you. It's Remington, right? My grandfather collected old-fashioned guns."
Frank reached in his waistband and tossed the gun to Charlemagne, who yelped, "Jesus, you could have killed me!"
"It's not loaded."
It took a full five seconds before Charlemagne could speak. "YOU MEAN YOU KIDNAPPED ME WITH AN UNLOADED GUN?!"
"It wasn't actually kidnapping," Frank tried to explain for the fourteenth time. After half an hour of not hearing the boy's voice, he was beginning to get worried.
Charlemagne glared stonily out the window.
"It was more of a mixture of grand theft auto and armed robbery."
More glaring. Frank felt sorry for the poor rock formation ahead, which was getting the brunt of it.
The reply was so tight that Frank thought he could pluck a song on the boy's adam's apple.
Then Charlemagne turned to him and smiled reluctantly. "But I'm keeping the gun from now on."
Frank almost cracked a smile of his own when the boy said, "Can we hit a liquor store next? I've always hated those bastards. ID my ass."