The Escape Artist

The bank alarms rattled the tinted windows in Josh’s sedan. He threw the car into gear, glanced at the bank’s glass doors to see if anyone was on their way out, then jammed his foot on the gas pedal.

“Sucks to be you, dudes,” he muttered, pulling out into the road.

Josh followed the original escape route, whipping the car first right, then left. He heard police sirens as he drove two more blocks, just a hair over the speed limit—not enough to draw any unwanted attention. Turning right again, he glanced in his rearview mirror.

All clear.

“Fuck!”

He slammed the brakes and swerved to miss her, clipping her with the passenger’s side bumper. She bounced on the car’s hood and her shopping cart spun out into the road. Josh blinked. A low groan seeped from his lips as he realized the cart was actually a stroller, a bundled-up child in its seat.

The stroller rolled to a stop against the far curb. A second later, Josh heard the child screaming. Passers-by, stunned into immobility by the crash, jerked back to life, swarming the child, the woman, and Josh’s car.

“Fuck fuck fuck!” Josh hissed, glancing in his rearview mirror again and seeing his escape route disappear as a police cruiser passed the intersection, backed up, then turned to pull in behind his sedan.

An officer exited the cruiser and moved to stand next to Josh’s door, signaling him to roll down his window. Josh gritted his teeth as he watched the officer’s partner move to check on first the woman, then the baby. Josh pressed the button to crack the window.

“Not your day today, son.” The officer looked down at Josh, disapproval etched on his face.

Josh gripped the wheel until his knuckles glowed.

“You mind stepping out of the car.”

Hell yes he minded—he minded very much. But the officer’s words had been anything but a question, and he opened the door. His legs felt like mismatched dumbbells, and he had trouble controlling them as he stood.

“Jesus, Bibbs,” the partner called out, rushing over to stand by the officer. “You know who that is? You know who we got?” He glanced at Josh and smiled.

Josh fought to keep his stomach from heaving.

The cop leaned in closer to Bibbs, turning away from Josh. “It’s her—Baby Jane, from the Amber Alert this morning.”

Bibbs’s eyebrows jumped to life, but he kept his eyes trained on Josh. “She okay?”

“Seems so.”

“And the woman?”

His partner shrugged. “Unconscious, no visible injuries.”

Josh’s dumbbell legs turned into wet noodles. Bibbs didn’t seem to notice.

“You call it in?”

“Will do.” His partner turned, nodded at Josh, and grabbed his shoulder mic as he walked around the front of the car.

“Might’ve spoke too soon,” Bibbs said to Josh. “You might be the city’s latest hero.”

Josh exhaled, his reputation in tact.

Comments

  • Love the twist!

    Tori RaganJanuary 15, 2014
  • Thanks, Tori! I wrote this for an online challenge — had to do it fewer than 500 words. This wasn’t the ending I had planned, but when the characters take over, it’s best to move out of their way 🙂

    cjaiferry@gmail.comJanuary 16, 2014
  • LOOOOVVVVEEEE!! What a twist!

    Mira DayJanuary 16, 2014
  • Thanks, Mira! 🙂

    cjaiferry@gmail.comJanuary 16, 2014
  • Thought-provoking perspective!

    Rachel LiesterFebruary 24, 2014
    • Life’s all about perspective, isn’t it? 😉 Thanks for reading!

      cjaiferry@gmail.comFebruary 24, 2014
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