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Catastropia

Part One

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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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June Bugs, Part 8

[Read first installment here]
[Read second installment here]
[Read third installment here]
[Read fourth installment here]
[Read fifth installment here]
[Read sixth installment here]
[Read seventh installment here]

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Bridget’s wails only concluded when she came to stand alongside the now deflated boat. Leaping onto the rubbery plastic which pooled at her feet like puddles and acted as if it were quicksand, she neared him enough to determine he still had breath. Once assured, she gave way to the incoming emergency personnel.

“Be careful,” she hollered at the female firefighter who’d begun trudging over the plastic. The woman didn’t seem to hear her. Seeing Jake, Bridget ran straight at him. “You all need to be very careful. You’ll kill him trying to rescue him!”

“What are you talking about?”

“The boat, Chuck, landed on that damned spiny palm!”

“Jesus,” Jake breathed as he raced away towards the scene. A  few more personnel joined him in the race while the remainder of the crews were finally making progress with the fire. Just in time, too. Any further, any higher, and the deadened branches above would have surely caught fire.

Bridget shook her head and turned her attention back on her beloved.

“Abbey! Don’t!” Jake screamed.

As much as she wanted to close her eyes, Bridget couldn’t. So she offered her prayer up while watching the devil dance in the balance.

“You’d never guess what I had to take care of this morning,” Chuck yanked off his work gloves and kicked off his boots before entering the kitchen where Bridget had a tall glass of iced tea already waiting.

“Something to do with that cursed palm?” She knew that was one of several things he planned on doing that morning. He hated pruning that tree and came to detest the previous owners because they planted it. More times than she could count he’d come in from the task bleeding out of numerous puncture holes dotting his body. Enough so that this time she made him wear a cup and his Kevlar vest to protect his most vital areas. The last time came far too close to the family jewels. Of course Jake chuckled  about that saying that it if it had actually happened, they could go into business performing vasectomies and call it the Natural Vasectomy. Until, of course, Chuck pointed out that given Jake’s playboy behavior, he ought to be their very first customer.

“Yep. Go on, love, guess.”

Her eyes searched his body looking for any signs of injury. Surprisingly she found none. Or rather, worrisomely. Before making any attempt to guess, she peered out the window towards the palm. Oh why couldn’t they just tear it out and be done with it? She nearly said that when it occurred to her that Chuck would take it to task and they’d lose the entire house. Knowing him, he’d plant a ton or so of TNT underneath the cursed thing and kaboom. No more house. Maybe even no more Chuck. She slammed her eyes shut and swallowed.

“I have no idea,” she turned back to face her husband who was in the process of grooming his mustache with the spread of his fingers.

“No, no. That’s not how this goes, love. Three guesses.”

“Fine. You found a nest of rats, a beehive, yellow-jackets.” She doubted it was any of the aforementioned simply because they’d had all of the above. Odds were that he wouldn’t be having her guess if that’s what was found.

That devilish twinkle in his eyes lit up his face as he shook his head. “Raccoons,” he then said. “But that’s not the half of it. They were all dead. Skewered like they were about to go on the barbecue. Two clean through. I think the others might have been attempting to help.”

“What? That’s impossible. How could that even have happened?”

“From the looks of it, a family of five were out and about for a midnight ransack and two of the adolescents lost their grip on the neighboring oak. I’m guessing that one was DOA and the other struggled for a bit, probably crying out which prompted the other three to jump to the rescue.” He certainly had the skills and making to be a wonderful homicide detective.

“That’s sad. Incredibly sad.”

“I agree, love,” he said as he pulled her into his arms.

She began crying when she imagined finding him in a similar pose, his body skewered at the ends of those needled branches.

“What is it, Bridge?”

“Promise me that from here on out we hire an arborist or a gardener to handle that damned thing. I couldn’t bear the thought of you becoming its next victim.”

Thankfully he agreed and come every February and September, Bert’s Trees comes by and trims it up nicely.  It’s an all-day task and quite expensive seeing that they had to buy special tools to manage it properly. Worth every penny as far as Bridget’s concerned.

“It’s all right, Bridge.” The sound of Jake’s voice tore her from the memories. “He got very lucky. It looks like the thickness of the boat combined with the bag his parachute was in, the jacket he wore, and the carcass of a possum worked collectively to save him from serious injury.”

“An opossum?” Bridget’s head got stuck on the imagery.

“Never mind that. Let’s get you into the ambulance and off to the hospital. He broke a few bones, but nothing life-threatening.”

Bridget only heard about half of that. Because right then, another explosion tore through the night. A rapid succession of bangs, pops, and whistles. Up in the sky, the fireworks wrote out a message. Bridget was still wondering how he managed to get them to write in the sky when Jake grabbed her up and carried her to the waiting ambulance.

Chuck was conscious though maybe not very lucid by the time she reached his side. She leaned over him and kissed his cheek, whispering, “I love you, too, you big dummy.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

The Adventures of Jake and Chuck is an interactive (meaning that you can jump in and add your own take on the story by leaving a comment), never-ending story about the crazy hijinks partners on the Winslow police force seem to get themselves into on a fairly regular basis. Find their newest adventure posted here weekly (subscribe now so you don’t miss another exciting episode).

As always, ratings, likes, and comments are much appreciated and help fuel the muse!

 

June Bugs (Part 4)

[Read first installment here]
[Read second installment here]
[Read third installment here]

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The telltale thump-thump-thump churned the air, fanning the heat in Jake and Bridget’s direction. Bridget retreated inside before Jake could think to warn her leaving him to stare at the sky looking for the helicopter.

A firefighter dashed past him, too fast and too purposefully to bother. He stepped off the deck and down onto the steaming grass as the dew reacted to the extreme temperatures. A whirly firework with a loud whistle screamed overhead. Jake instinctively ducked and threw his hands over his head. He made his way to the second engine that had come on scene and over to the engineer who was still standing by waiting for his orders. Only it wasn’t a he. Jake realized that three seconds too late.

“Is this your doing?” Abbey snapped at him.

“What? Me? Not in your life. I’m the one that cleans up his messes, I don’t start them. You haven’t seen him, have you?”

“Who?”

Jake managed to escape letting out a sigh of exasperation. “Chuck.”

“Why should I care?”

It wasn’t worth explaining it to her. It was clear she still held a grudge. But by all rights, she should care. Everyone there should. “Who ordered up the helicopter?”

“You can read, right?”

“Of course.”

“Okay, so look really closely at my forehead.” She pulled off the leather helmet and swept aside tendrils of chestnut hair so he could get a clear view. “Now tell me, do you see information booth printed anywhere there?”

Message received. Loud and clear. He hustled off in search of someone wearing a white or red helmet. He was soon rewarded with a cluster of red and white. Steered towards them. Got lucky when one turned in time to see him and peeled away from the rest to talk to him. His pal, Captain Luke Hennessey.

“Looks like Chuck got himself into a real pickle here,” Luke said once he was in earshot.

“Have you seen him?”

“Negative. He’s not with you?”

“Negative. Haven’t seen him since I got here which was right after your crew arrived. Who ordered up the whirlybird?”

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

Both looked skyward.

Luke said, “That doesn’t look like one of ours.”

Jake said, “That’s because it’s not.” He scooted off before Luke could say anything else. He’d have to find a way to get that damn thing down before it fanned the flames into the woods. And do it without killing the occupant. Because Bridget would never forgive him if he took the love of her life away from him.


Jake and Chuck’s Adventures is a new section of KathieLeung.com with weekly installments in this fun and free never-ending story that features two unforgettable spear carriers from Kathie’s works.

This is an interactive never-ending story which readers are invited to participate. Have an idea of where the story is headed? Do you want to chime in with your own story ideas? Hit that comment button and let ‘er rip! Note that these posts are written in advance so your suggestions might not make the next couple of excerpts.

Your rating and comments are all the gratuity needed! Enjoy, comment, and share.

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Jake and Chuck’s Adventures is something new to this site, but not new to me. The characters were developed eons ago, intended to be spear carriers–characters that got the reader from point A to point B in the book. Partners with Winslow Police Department with some colorful dialogue providing a bit of comic relief. But Jake was having none of that. And Chuck? Well, he came along for the ride–begrudgingly.

Several years back a short story was born featuring Jake and Chuck. The pair was required to attend Weapons of Mass Destruction training and elected to go to a class held in Nevada just outside of Vegas. They were tasked with building their own bomb on the final day of class. Being Jake and Chuck, they wanted to make the biggest bang they could. And being Jake and Chuck, all kinds of mayhem ensued.

Since then, Jake and Chuck have taken a backseat. That lasted only so long. And now they’re back behind the wheel, inviting readers to follow them on a slew of their wild adventures–and inviting the readers to become active participants!

Here’s your opportunity to lead the pair into catastrophe or help them out of a pickle. When you finish reading an installment, rate the story and then add in the comment section what you’d like to see happen next. It’ll be completely up to the duo as to whether they follow your lead–one thing I’ve learned, I have no control over these two. And who knows? Maybe the ideas will bear an entirely new storyline and new characters. So have at it and leave those suggestions!

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KL: So, Jake, tell us about the first time you met Chuck.

Jake: Oh man. (laughs) I honestly thought this dude had sat firmly on top of one of our famous Sequoias. That first day he was tense, barked at me for every stupid little thing, and at the end of the day, walked off without even saying good bye or see you tomorrow. (Shakes his head, laughs again.) Boy did I have it all wrong. (more…)

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