Tale Number Sixty-Three – Busting Out

Busting Out

prompt:  comedy/a car impound lot/a remote control


“This better work, Nerdlinger,” Wayne said, shoving his geeky, little brother toward the gate. The kid’s brain was a force of nature.  Occasionally useful, but more often, just irritating. “We’re supposed to meet the guys in half an hour.”

“Don’t push me,” said Eddie, flexing his shoulder.

Taylor stepped between the brothers and peered through the gate at the junk yard that also served as the town impound.  “Keep it down, ladies.  Dude, why would they impound your truck for a speeding ticket?”

“Twenty-five tickets.” said Eddie, pulling a TV remote from his pocket.

Taylor stared.  “Dude.”

“Just do it.” sighed Wayne.

Eddie had souped-up the remote.  Some of the buttons were gone and it looked as if there was a mile of electrical tape holding it together.  He pointed it at the gate mechanism. “Set phasers to stun!” he ordered and pressed several buttons. The chain drive sprang to grinding, clanking life and the gate rolled back.

“Pitiful security,” Eddie said.  “Hand over the tribute.” He put out his hand and Wayne slapped some crumpled bills into it before pushing Eddie and Taylor inside.

“It’s over there.”

“Your brother is a wizard,” Taylor said.

“Quiet, or he’ll up his rates.”

Wayne headed for the darkest group of shadows.  “We aren’t clear yet. They impounded my key, too.”

Taylor brandished a coat hanger and grinned.

The boys made their way past piles of rusted parts to the back corner where Wayne’s aging Durango sat.  Taylor went to work, jimmying the door.

“Dad’ll find out…” Eddie began nervously.

“Maybe they’ll just think it was jacked,” Wayne said.

Taylor looked up from his work.  “Dude.  Even I know that’s nuts.”

Eddie looked at Wayne with sympathy. “What’s it like in that puny little brain?”

A low growl nearly scared the piss out of them.  Wayne was suddenly very aware of the Grande-sized Slurpster he’d just slammed.  A mangy Rottweiler with a heavy, studded collar stalked toward them, its graying muzzle curled in a snarl.

“Cujo!” Taylor cried. “Run!”

“No, the truck!  MOVE IT!” said Wayne.

He wrenched the door handle as Taylor yanked the coat hanger wedged in at the window.  The dog snarled and Taylor chanted, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,” until a sudden, sharp clank released the lock.

Wayne rolled into the driver’s seat and under the dash in seconds, feet hanging out the passenger door, hands pulling at wires.

“C’mon, you stupid heap!  Start!”

Taylor was almost inside but spotted Eddie frozen in place by the sight of the growling mongrel.

“Come ON, Eddie,” Taylor said, whining in panic.  “Get in the damned truck!”

The engine roared to life and Wayne sat up, exultant.  “Yes!”

“For God’s sake!” Grabbing Eddie by the collar and the belt which barely kept the pants on his skinny frame, Taylor hoisted him into the back.  Then, he dove for the passenger seat, closing the door just as the dog leaped.  Paws scrabbled at the handle and saliva flecked the window.

“Shit!” Wayne’s eyes were wide as saucers as he slammed the truck into gear. “Hang on!”

Their triumphant escape was cut short as the truck coughed and nearly stalled.  Eddie was flung forward against the back window.

“Wayne, for Christ’s sake!” he bawled.

The dog saw his chance and leaped directly into the truck bed.  He seemed to smirk as he regained his balance and edged forward.

“Down, dog!  Sit!  Stay!  Heel!”

Eddie felt frantically about on the floor of the truck bed for anything to distract the hell hound grinning at him.  His fingers found a stick or something. It didn’t matter.

“Hey, dog!  Here, look!  Look!  Get the stick, dog!  Go on, fetch!”

He flung whatever it was out into the darkness.  The dog’s head whipped around to follow the disappearing object, his tongue lolling in excitement.  With a delighted woof, the animal leaped over the side and bounded off.  Wayne stomped on the gas and the truck shot forward in a squirt of dust and gravel.

The open gate was just ahead.  The truck cab reeked of boy sweat, adrenaline, and old Tootsie Rolls.  It was the smell of teen spirit and freedom.    Wayne let out a war whoop and Taylor hung his head out the window, laughing.  His laughter changed to a yelp when Wayne braked hard, throwing Taylor forward.  Wayne pointed to the wall of chain link.

“Eddie!  Open the damned gate!” Taylor yelled.

“I don’t have the remote!”

Wayne whipped around in panic, “Why the hell not?”

“I guess I threw it,” Eddie said, “to get rid of the dog.”

Wayne’s head dropped back against the headrest.

The gate suddenly started rolling open.  Dumb-struck, Wayne didn’t question, but threw the truck into gear and started forward.  After a dozen or so feet the gate reversed itself, rolling shut.

“Who’s doing that?” Taylor demanded looking around.

“Him,” sighed Eddie. He pointed over by a stack of tires.  The dog was gnawing at the remote like a favorite chew toy.  Every time he bit into it, the gate would go into action.

Open.  Close.  Open.  Close.

“Shit,” they all said in unison.

“Just go for it next time it opens,” Taylor said.

Wayne revved the engine.  When the gate rolled again, the truck jumped forward.  But the dog was quicker than Wayne. As the truck surged ahead, the gate clamped on it like one of the giant radioactive ants from “Them!”  The front bumper caught the edge of the gate but Wayne didn’t slow for it.  The sound of metal-on-metal stood their arm hairs on end as the truck scraped through the narrowing gap.  It screeched along, finally catching the rear bumper and pulling it loose.

They burst free and Wayne brought them to a bouncing halt at which point the gate reversed again, opening. The three boys turned and watched the dog, happily destroying the remote.

Eddie considered it a moment, then surveyed the damage.  “That… is a pretty good dog.”

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