Catastropia

Part One

car blur rain window

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Jake finished writing the citation and passed it over to the driver, one Daniel Huckster of Winslow, to sign the promise to appear in court or complete the tasks as outlined and turn in the signed off items to the courts.

The rain had started once again. Gullies were becoming streams, streams had the makings of rivers, and the rivers were in the beginning stages of supporting pontoon boats. Meaning that their evening would quickly become a nightmare. It never failed. Some jackhole would come zipping down Winslow Ave, hit the sharp turn, and slide off either into oncoming traffic or the ditch. And just as inevitably, they’d go into the opposing lane when there was a vehicle, the ditch when the road was clear.

Firefighter/medic Kim Peterson and the latest recruit—Jake didn’t bother to memorize the name (there was a reason Peterson was referred to as a man-eater and it wasn’t the way Hall and Oates sang about); were posting nearby the slippery slope, but that didn’t alleviate the need for police presence. Nonetheless, the downturn in staffing that particular rainy March night combined with the uptick in traffic (Winslow High was hosting a basketball tournament), meant that no one from the police side of the equation had the luxury of posting nearby.

“Please drive extra carefully, Mr. Huckster,” Jake tore off the pink copy of the citation. “On account of the rain and the number of teenagers we have roaming the streets this evening.”

“Will do, officer. Thank you,” the man said with the utmost sincerity.

Jake shook off the rain like a sheepdog before stepping into the warmth of the squad car. “Nothing finer than giving the recently retired auto shop teacher a fix-it ticket,” he remarked as he buckled in.

“That was Huckster?”

“Ayup. Bought the car off of the school last week.”

“Which explains why the plates came back as Lila Spencer,” Chuck remarked as he dropped the gears into drive. Both watched as Huckster eased away from the curb with his hand stuffed out the window in the appropriate hand signal in lieu of the turn signals—hence his citation. Huckster turned down Calaveras Street and headed towards home. Chuck drove on until Winslow Ave and headed towards the school.
The tournament apparently ended. The parking lot outside of the gym was lit up like the red light district.

“Ten minutes,” Jake said.

“Really? That long?” Chuck harumphed. “I won’t give it more than five.”

“You’re on.”

Both settled back as they waited a block away, tracking the movements out of the east and west driveways.

Eight minutes later, less than a few hundred feet from the nose of the cruiser, a Ford Taurus broadsided a Toyota Camry.

“Guess who’s buying dinner tomorrow night,” Jake grinned as he reached over and flicked on the wigwags. He then reached for the mic and radioed it in.

Except dispatch told him to wait. The radio traffic right after gave the reason. Fire was dispatched, medics were already on scene, and Jake and Chuck, Adam fourteen, were reassigned to the scene of a head-on collision.

By then Jake was already at the vehicles. Once assured that there were no life-threatening injuries and given the go-ahead from dispatch to relay the details and get a second unit sent out to cover the collision, he hustled back to the cruiser.

“What the hell?” Chuck murmured as they neared the scene.

Jake was in the process of opening his mouth to say the same thing, or a variation thereof.

The fire crew had already arrived. They’d pulled up alongside the scene and directed the apparatus spotlights onto the mangle of vehicles. But that they’d seen a dozen times at that very spot. What got their jaws dropping was the most peculiar sight. So peculiar that Jake had his weapon drawn.

“I knew there were cats in the area, I just never saw one before and definitely not that big,” Jake said.

Chuck’s phone rang. Jake grabbed it and answered. It was Peterson.

“You see this?”

“Yeah. Stay in your rig.”

“No shit.”

The wildcat stared at them from the roof of the truck. Jake dialed back out, this time to the fire captain. He told them to stay in the engine.

“I doubt that pistol’s gonna do you much good,” Chuck said.

Jake agreed. Holstered his weapon. Reached for the shotgun.

“What are you planning on doing?”

“Shoot it.”

“I think we should get fish and game out here.”

Jake opened his door. “We don’t have that kind of luxury of time,” he said just before he stepped out and sighted the rifle.


Jake & Chuck’s Adventures is an interactive (you get to chime in with your own thoughts and ideas by leaving a comment) never-ending story that appears in installments weekly here.

As always, comments, likes, and ratings are much appreciated and help feed the muse.

 

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  1. […] [Read first installment here] […]

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