Chapter 4: Holiday Road

I found out long ago
It's a long way down holiday road

 

The absolute clunker of a car they rented with the little funds they could afford didn't look like it could make it to Saratoga, let alone somewhere outside Phoenix. It was a Barretta. A Chevy Barretta but it had to be over 20 years old. And it was yellow. It looked like a giant cracked out bumblebee. Despite the fact that the car was unreliable, the cowboys found they had a bigger problem once inside. "Uh...I don't know how to drive," Spike admitted, thumping his fingers on the steering wheel.

"You don't?"

"I just never bothered to learn. It wasn't necessary."

"So scoot over. I'll drive."

Spike seemed appalled at this suggestion, as if it never crossed his mind that it was an option. "I don't want to be driven around by you the whole trip," he whined.

Faye rolled her eyes. "What are you, Jet all of a sudden? Don't give me that macho crap just move over and let me drive."

"I could learn," he shrugged, gripping his hands tighter on the wheel as if to show that it was going to be no easy feat removing him from that spot. Somewhere in the course of the three-second conversation it became about winning. He didn't know why, but something inside him became insistent that he drive this car. The idea of Faye having that sort of control did not sit well with him. "It can't be much different from flying."

Faye knew that there was no way she could win this, being that he was already in the seat. She didn't normally submit so easily but the fact remained that she shanghaied him into this trip. He could win all the battles he wanted. She already won the war. "Fine," she sighed. "Whatever."

"Ok..." Spike took a breath. "Let's roll." He turned the key and got excited a bit as the car started up underneath him. He was driving a car. How cool. He thumped around Faye's head until he came up with her sunglasses. He put them on and then admired himself in the mirror.

"You're such a dork," Faye remarked.

"Yes, but I am a dork with a car," Spike grinned.

"Ok, what you want to do is put the car in...."

Spike had already slammed down on the gas and the car peeled crazily out of the rental lot and into the street. Faye yelped in surprise as she gripped the side of the door for dear life. "Don't I have to do something with gears?" Spike yelled over the roar of the engine. The Barretta wasn't the quietest ride in the world.

"It's an automatic!" Faye shouted at him. "Get out of second!"

Spike looked down at the transmission and then shifted to drive. "So what's second for?" he asked her.

"Keep your eyes on the road," she grumbled, and then added, "Cow."

Spike looked up and then narrowly missed the large bovine who seemed entirely unfazed by the ordeal. "I saw it," he shrugged. "So what's second for?"

Faye ignored him.

"You don't know what second's for, do you?"

"No, I don't, OK?" she snapped. "And you wanna slow down a bit? If we miss our exit we're screwed. It's hard turning around on roads like this. We're in the middle of nowhere."

Spike smirked at her and then slammed harder on the gas. The needle began to creep up around 80, 85, 90. Faye just glared at him until she saw the sign for Rt. 80. "That's our exit!" she shrieked, and then impulsively grabbed the wheel and yanked it. The car spun around in about 4 complete 360's before it came to a screeching halt in the middle of the road, right in front of the on ramp. The two of them took a moment to catch their breath, which was difficult considering the air was thick with the smell of burning rubber. "Some teacher," Spike grumbled. Faye would have had a retort if she was not distracted by the distant sound of police sirens.

"Oh no," she sighed as a pair of flashing lights crept over the horizon. "The Man." There was no way they had money allotted in the budget for insane speeding tickets. Or bail.

"Let's out run ‘em," Spike grinned, his eyes shining underneath her glasses.

"In a Barretta?"

"It's a sports sedan," he said in the car's defense. He peeled back and then shot off down the ramp, Faye screaming the whole way.

***

Spike did not merge onto Route 80. Instead he just cut directly across it and onto a farm, parking behind a grain silo. Faye ducked down in her seat as if that would help as they heard the sirens approaching, but instead of getting closer, they faded further down the highway until they were gone. Spike had just out run the cops. "I love driving!" he exclaimed.

A rooster landed on their windshield. Faye stared at it for a moment before she flicked on the wipers and it fluttered gently to the ground. Then she turned to Spike and said, "Out."

"Aw, come on. There's no way we could have paid for that ticket and we only spun out of control cause you grabbed the wheel like a shrew."

"I don't care. Out."

"You'll have to make me."

Faye sighed and looked back out the windshield as if she was going to relent, and then tackled him. The scene that followed looked more like something out of a kindergarten class scuffle than the behavior of two grown adults. The constraints of the front seat did not allow them to make any sort of real offensive movements, so they basically shoved and hit each other open palmed while yelling insults. It really was ridiculous. If they hadn't been so aggravated at each other for a mounting number of reasons, they would have cracked up. Finally, Faye managed to lunge by Spike's defense and open the car door, which sent him spilling to the ground. She snatched her glasses off him as he fell and sidled confidently into the drivers seat. "You know, I should have gone with my original plan of mugging you and going myself."

"There's still time," Spike muttered from the dirt. He sulked slightly as he made his way around to the passenger's side. "How do you get to Arizona anyway?"

"Uh...I have a vague idea. We want to go to west and then down a little."

Spike just blinked at her for a few moments and then shrugged. "Giddy up."

 

CHAPTER 5: MR. E'S BEAUTIFUL BLUES



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