Excerpt from Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers“It’s right down that sort of trail coming up on the left,” Celeste directed.

“I don’t see a goddamn thing,” Gabriel spat, but turned off the headlights anyway so he wouldn’t alert who ever might be in the cabin, wherever the hell that was. The thumbnail moon offered little in the way of light and if the road was dark, the damn forest looked impenetrable.

The slamming door that had awakened Andre a minute or two earlier had been Brenda and Julie, the Kingsley sisters, fleeing the scene. After dancing, drinking, groping and dripping candle wax on Andre they watched him pass out, then quickly went to work loading his truck.

Along with the flat screen TV, DVDs, speakers, and Andre’s wallet, they also took the microwave and a naked lady teapot Julie couldn’t live without.

“Oh my god! Will you look at this damn thing, ain’t that cute, when you pour it looks like she’s peeing, that is so cool.”

On their final trip Brenda grabbed the Jack Daniels bottle, let the door slam behind her and they jumped, giggling, into Andre’s truck racing down the narrow trail.

“See ya, sucker,” Julie laughed, thinking, ‘Not a bad trade, the damn truck with everything they loaded in it and that idiot’s left wearing my four dollar thong from Target.’ She held the bottle to her lips and keeping one eye on the trail, took a big old celebratory swig.

“Yeah, yeah, right here on the left see, you can . . . Jesus!” Celeste cried, a bare half second after seeing headlights, as Andre’s new truck bounced out of the trail, rocketed across the county road and plowed into Gabriel’s Escalade, smashing into the driver’s side and crushing the front wheel.

“Jesus Christ!” DaLuca screamed, the first to shake himself back to reality once the Escalade skidded to a stop and he sprung the door open. The impact had shoved them beyond the shoulder of the road and as he tumbled out the side door he dropped into the drainage ditch, a good three feet lower than he had calculated, landing with a large slopping sound before rolling through mud, decomposing leaves and weeds like some gigantic salamander.

“Back up, back up,” Brenda screamed, while Julie forced the truck into reverse, grinding gears before screeching back across the road, onto the shoulder, then flooring it, smoking tires and spewing dirt and gravel, and clipping the doors and rear panel of the wrecked Escalade before weaving down the county road into the darkness. The truck engine was clattering and groaning, steam and some sort of reddish brown liquid came spewing over the buckled hood splashing across the windshield as Julie accelerated down the dark road, speeding away from the scene.

“Go, go, go, come on go,” Cecil screamed. Gabriel attempted to accelerate through a u-turn, stomping his foot to the floor, DaLuca was still crawling out of the drainage ditch on his hands and knees, muddy and weed covered, the Creature from the Black Lagoon with bifocals. The vehicle lurched forward a foot or two and collapsed, dropping with a definitive clunk, leaning severely to the left as the front axle snapped. The engine revved ineffectually, steam hissed from the radiator and they sat there, motionless.

“Ahh fuck!” Gabriel screamed, throwing his shoulder against his door again and again, the crash having wedged it shut, “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

“God! You okay?” Brenda shouted at her sister over the pinging engine. It sounded like someone was bouncing rocks off the radiator, the accelerator occasionally whining ineffectively and causing the pickup to lurch forward from time to time as they raced down the road.

“I think I’m gonna puke,” Julie gagged, just before vomiting across the dashboard.

“Ahh, damn it, you dumb. out the window, out the damn window,” Brenda screamed grabbing her sister by the back of the neck, attempting to force her head out the passenger window. The window was still closed, and Julie’s forehead made a distinctive thunking sound every time Brenda slammed it into the glass.

“Owie, owie, owie,” Julie cried with each thump. “Okay, Jesus, I won’t puke, I promise, God!” She pulled and scratched Brenda’s arm away from her neck.

“Jesus, did you see that, can you believe those assholes were driving with their fucking lights off? I, I didn’t even see ’em til it was too late, they were right there on top of us. What a bunch of bastards. Christ, this thing is ruined. I just hope it gets us back to town so we can get our car and just get the hell out of here.”

“Oh, god I feel like, shit.” Julie groaned, just before she vomited again.

“Goddamn it, look at this, Christ, my trousers are fucking ruined,” DaLuca screamed, wiping mud from his glasses, shaking his thick arms back and forth in an effort to fling mud and bits of leaves off his hands as he began wading out of the ditch and back up to the shoulder of the road.

Cecil, Jimmy and Gabriel stood in the middle of the dark county road staring at the enormous mud and weed covered figure emerging from the drainage ditch, the radiator still hissing in the background.

“Your trousers?” Gabriel screeched, his voice even higher than usual, examining his Escalade smashed and wheezing on the shoulder, clenching and unclenching his fists. “Look at my fucking car, asshole, that is my eighty fucking grand sitting there in the road smoking, in the middle of the fucking road and you’re bitching about your fucking trousers. Jesus,” he screamed. “Hey, where did the chick go?”

“Ahh, Jesus,” groaned Cecil, “she’s fucking gone?”

Jimmy ran about fifteen feet behind the car staying clear of Gabriel, looking up and down the road for any sign of Celeste, all the while thinking this is so stupid, can it get any worse.

“Fucking great, just fucking great,” Gabriel screeched, marching toward DaLuca almost out of the ditch. “Someone broadsides my fucking car, the chick you’re supposed to watch runs off and you’re fucking around in the goddamned mud, and you’re worried about your trousers? You were supposed to watch her, she was sitting next to you! Great, just fucking great, you fat fuck,” landing a solid punch on DaLuca’s chin that sent him spinning back down into the drainage ditch. “You were sitting next to her, you dumb shit! You were supposed to be watching her ass!”

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