Stuck in Lawndale

A Collaboration by Neal C. and Napalm Krigbaum

Road Trip

Part One – On the Road Again

I opened my eyes slowly, adjusting to the light level. It wasn’t as bright as it should have been. Then I realized why. When did I hang velvet curtains? Wait… I never put up velvet curtains. That means…

I lifted up onto my elbows. I gazed lazily around. It was Jane’s room… but now it was mine too. I smiled a little at that. Who’d of thunk it? Me in a steady, semi-normal relationship. We had worked it out, I moved my meager belongings into Jane’s room and Napalm took my old one.

Jane was lying beside me. She looks like an angel… well she’d be a fallen angel, but an angel nonetheless. I wish I had some paper. Wait this is Jane’s room it’s loaded with paper.

I eased out of bed so as not to wake her up. I picked up some paper, a drafting pencil and a drawing board. I sat in the comfy chair and watched her sleep. Writing whilst I did. Stream of consciousness stuff, no real story or poem or anything else. I also did some quick sketches, but they were disappointing. Compared to Jane’s art I ought as well have drawn stick figures.

Then I heard footsteps in the hall. The door creaked opened and Napalm stuck his head in. I turned to greet him.

"Yo." I whispered. I put my finger to my mouth for quiet.

"Hey. Uh am I interrupting a ‘moment’ here? ‘Cause if I am I’ll come back later." He whispered back.

I shook my head and sat the writing and sketches in the chair and motioned him to go out in the hall. I followed.

"It’s that special time." He said.


"Alternapalooza… We go today."

"It’s Friday already?" After the cleanup last weekend Nick had brought up the topic of the Battle of the Locals at this year’s Alternapalooza. We had all decided to road trip to the festival and have a cool weekend.

"Oh yeah… lemme wake Jane up and we’ll meet you downstairs."

"Cool, I’ll go get Trent up."

I woke Jane up and then went for a shower. After I was done I relinquished the room to a slightly more alert Jane. Then we went downstairs.

Trent was passed out at the table and Napalm was sitting there sipping coffee.

"I got him this far." He shrugged.

"So what’s the plan?" I asked as I entered the kitchen.

"Jesse and Max are gonna pick up Nick and be right over. Someone has to give Daria a lift over here."

I nodded. "You and me can do that. Jane could you wake Trent up and make sure he stays that way?"

Jane smirked evilly. "Yeah that I can do."

"Cool. C’mon Napalm, let’s book."

We drove over to Daria’s. I checked my watch. We were late, but Daria wasn’t waiting outside. We waited for a few minutes.

"Damn, we gotta rescue her." I said.

Napalm nodded gravely. We got out of the Monaco and walked up the path to the door. We stood in front of the door, rigid, shoulders back. I put on my prescription dark sunglasses and motioned for Napalm to do the same.

"Are you ready for this?" I asked.

"Are you?"

"Good point."

I knocked on the door. Jake answered. He looked at us and for the first time said the right thing. "You aren’t here for Quinn, are you?"

"No Mr. Morgendorffer." I said, deadpan.

"We’re here for Daria." Napalm said, sounding a lot like Elwood Blues.

"She's not in any trouble…is she?"

"May we come in please?" Napalm asked.

Moments later the two of us were standing in the Morgendorffer's living room with a confused looking Jake before us. The sound of Daria's boots could be heard coming downstairs but I paid no attention to it. Napalm turned his head to stare. I gave him a quick tap. He more or less snapped out of it.

"We're here to take Daria to Alternapalooza." I said flatly.

"She can't go." Jake replied.

"Now why is it Daria can't go?"

"Because, Helen was concerned about that place! She heard they went nuts last year and trashed everything. I don't want them destroying my little girl!"

"I understand that sir." Napalm continued. "But what you don't understand is what we're asking Daria to do is a holy thing sir."

"Daria's part of a church?" Jake, now even more bewildered asked. I could hear Daria laugh quickly in the background.

"No sir, she's with our band." Napalm said. He had a plan so I didn't interrupt for the moment.

"A band!?"

"Yes sir, she plays a harmonica well and…" Napalm trailed. He lost his thought so I picked up the slack

"The harmonica sir is scientifically proven to be a calming instrument, if she doesn't come to play the crowd will go wild. People will be puked on."

"Cars turned over." Napalm added.

"Dogs eaten like chicken." Jake was getting queasy. Good.

"Women exposing themselves."

"Men touching women exposing themselves."

"Total anarchy sir, if Daria doesn't come the blood will be on your hands. Don't you see, she's on a mission from God. " Napalm finished. Now Jake was completely messed up.

"Well when you put it like that how can I say no?" He looked past us and apparently saw Daria.

"Kiddo, these two gentlemen just explained the situation, if you want to go it's okay with me!"

"Thank you dad, it'll mean so much to me." She paused, " And to the people." Daria replied in a faux solemn tone. Napalm started smiling so I nudged him. He straightened up.

"Need anything kiddo?" Jake asked as he pulled out his wallet. Daria walked past us over to him.

"Just thirty bucks."


"Inflation. I wasn't there last year to keep those people calm and look what happened."

Jake nodded his head and gave her the money. Daria then stood beside us.

"We must be going now." I said.

Napalm was the first to the door, he opened it for Daria and walked out behind her, nearly shutting it in my face.

"Wait!" Jake asked, as I was about to leave. "Who are you people, are you with the festival or something?"

"No sir. We're musicians."

I opened the door and walked out. The 'Bluesmobile's' engine was already purring as I went to get into the passenger side. Daria had already claimed the back and was putting on her seat belt.

"Why is there a gas can back here?" She asked.

"Must have missed that one. Spare fuel, just in case." Napalm replied.

Moments later we slowly pulled away from the curb when Jake ran out the door.

"Hey guys!"

"Should I loose him?" Napalm asked.

"No. If he doesn't chase us on foot do we want him chasing us in the Lexus?" Daria responded.

Jake ran up to me window with money in his hand.

"Sir, give this to Daria, just in case, you know, they need her a little longer."

I nodded my head and passed the twenty back to Daria. Then Napalm slammed down the accelerator and we where back at Casa Lane in no time.

The Tank was in the driveway when we pulled up so Napalm parked by the curb. Trent, Jesse and Nick were loading equipment into it. Max was walking around waving his arms in the air. We got out of the car and heard him shouting.

"But guys we’re still on probation. Remember, inciting a riot and resisting arrest? If we get caught outside the county we get to spend the next six months as guests of the state!"

"Then we won’t get caught." I said.

Jane came out of the house with my bedroll. Then she locked the front door. "Okay so who rides where?"

"You ride with me on the chopper. The Spiral rides in the Tank. That leaves Napalm and Daria in the ‘bluesmobile’."

Napalm looked pleased. I strapped the bedroll to the back of the cycle, like my dad taught me. The guys clambered into the Tank. I started the chopper. Napalm opened Daria’s door for her. Then we took off. It was a regular caravan; Napalm and Daria in front, the Tank in the middle and Jane & I pulling up the rear.

We got to the highway and drove for the better part of an hour without incident. Then the Tank signaled that it was turning. We all pulled into a rest area.

Jane got off the bike and walked up to the driver’s side of the Tank. "What’s wrong?"

I couldn’t make out what Max said but I saw him point out the window. I looked where he was pointing. A Carter County sheriff's car was slowly pulling into the rest area. He stopped about fifty yards from us. They seemed to be typing.

"Shit." I muttered to myself. I got off of the cycle and walked up to the Tank. I looked down at the license plate. The tag was from 1998. I shook my head then walked up beside Jane. I spoke in a level deadpan. "Max, see that porker you were pointing at? He’s running your tags. And guess what? They haven’t been current in two years. You are about to be in a world of shit."

Max’s eyes widened and he was about to say something. But I cut him off.

"Shut up. You guys packed lunch right?"


"Give me the mayonnaise jar."

He dug around for a minute and finally produced the mayo.

"Good, now sit tight while I go tell Napalm what happened."

I walked up to the Monaco and motioned for Napalm to roll down his window. "Where’s Daria?"

"She went to the bathroom"

I nodded "We’re in some serious shit."

"What?" Napalm asked.




"Shit! Has he called back up?"

I looked back and saw another cruiser coming down the access road. "Yeah. We gotta distract ‘em."

"I don't have a full tank."

"Too bad. The guys will follow you. The map says the road splits into three up here. You take the right. One will follow you and one will follow me."

"How do you know?"

Daria returned and got back in the car.

"I think something really did die in that bathroom." She whined.

I smirked. "I know. Inform Daria of the situation. Now pull out slowly." He started to pull out, and as he did the gas hose, still gassing him up came out as he pulled away. I walked back to the Tank. "Max. Follow Napalm." Max nodded and pulled out after him.

I went back to the chopper. "Jane we are about to do something that will most probably get us arrested if we get caught."

"What are we gonna do?"

"We’re gonna give that pig some salad dressing." I handed the mayo to Jane. "I’m gonna gun by that cop as soon as he flashes his lights at the Tank and your gonna crash this on his hood. It should get him off the Tank and onto us."

The cruisers followed the Tank out of the rest area and flashed their lights. I gunned out of there and around the cruisers. We got side by side with the front one. "NOW!"

Jane hit the cruiser’s hood dead on and the mayo splattered up onto the windshield. The cops swerved off of the road and the second cruiser took off after us. We zipped past Napalm and on down the road…

Part Two- I Love the Smell of Napalm in a Car Chase

(Napalm’s Story)

I saw the lights following the Tank in my rearview mirror and I knew this was it, we had to take their minds away from the Tank. Neal zipped by, apparently he had done something to piss the first cop off so that left us just one more to distract.

"Rollers." I deadpanned. I stuck my arm out the window and flipped them the bird. That got their attention and really slammed down the accelerator.

"Think we can out run them?" Daria asked. I wasn't trying to play it cool but it appeared that way. I think it was the same with her.

"They're not gonna catch us." I replied with my best Elwood.

"We're on a mission from God, right?"

"This car has a 440 cubic inch engine. Big block, I can do 120, possibly 140 if I try. That's almost as good."

The road ahead split into three, so I switched the gears and I could hear the giant engine roar louder, nearly drowning out the Blues Brothers Soundtrack I had going on.

"Daria, you might want to turn up the volume."

My favorite song, Sweet Home Chicago was coming on.

"And you might want to put on a seat belt." She replied.

I chose the road on the right and put the hammer down.

"How fast do you think those cops can go?" Daria asked as she looked behind us.

"Those cops are riding newer model Crown Vics , they can keep up with nearly anything on the road-"

"That's great." She replied.

"Built after the '70's. This car was built in 1974, that's even before catalytic converters." I finished. A glance at the speedometer showed I was doing was doing well over 100 and we showed no signs of slowing down. The Monaco was built for this kind of driving. Another glance in the rearview showed we were quickly losing the cops.

"I'm bored, let's talk some more." I said.

"Okay…um…the forest is nice, I think." She replied as we shot through the scenic forest at 110. At least I think it was scenic.

"I think I'm driving pretty good."

"Maybe you can be Burt Reynolds' chauffeur someday."

"I think you have to have a license for that job."

She looked at me funny. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means I'm doing pretty good for a guy who never took drivers ed or technically got a drivers license."

"Want me to drive?" She asked.

"Sure, but your foot doesn't have enough lead in it."

Another quick glance into the rearview showed we had lost the cops.

"Where are the cops?" I asked.

"In front of us most likely, putting up a road block." She replied casually.

"Good odds on that." I agreed calmly.

"Setting up spike strips."

"If they have them."


"Probably not."

I then caught sight of the fuel gauge. We had lost the cops but were running low and fast.

"Daria take the wheel, I need to get some gas."

"What?" She replied.

"It's too dangerous to slow down, they might catch us. You'll have to get over here and get your foot on the gas and take the wheel so I can fill up the tank with the gas cans I have in the back seat."

"Ah, yes, that sounds like a far less dangerous plan."

"Glad you agree." Our conversation had kept a nearly flat tone the entire time and I couldn't have loved it more.

Daria got in close to me as I gently moved my foot sideways to make room for hers on the pedal. I moved my hands over so she could get a grip on the wheel, she was practically on top of me.

"I bet you're enjoying this." She said.


I carefully slipped up and back over the vinyl seat, landing head first in the back seat. I righted myself and saw Daria safely had the wheel.

"Want me to slow down some?" She asked.

"Your foot is a lead brick, got it?"


I took off my hat and set it on the floor so it wouldn't fly out the window. I picked up the gas can off of the floor with one hand and unrolled a window with the other. I set the can on the seat and carefully squeezed as much of my body outside of the car. The wind was whipping by VERY fast and I knew this was very dangerous. I crawled back in.

"90?" She asked.

"I love the way you think. You think like me."

When I poked my head back out the wind wasn't too bad. I fastened the seat belt over my legs to help keep me in. If I fell it would kill me instantly anyway. I got nearly half my body out of the car and realized that I couldn't gas the car up from here, so crawled back in and tried the same thing on the driver's side. I had the heavy gas can in my hand, it was so heavy I dropped it and it splattered all over the road. (Later I found out a police car hit it and caused the car to careen off the road, saving our butts) I crawled back in.

"This is your brain. That was your brain on the road, any questions?" She quipped.

"Stop the car. I forgot I fill this thing up from the back."

"All those cheap heroics for nothing." She replied.

"Yeah, now when you stop pop the trunk I have a few spare cans back there."

She stopped and did as I asked. In about two minutes I had put all the gas into the car, tossed the cans in the back seat and was ready to take the wheel again.

"Can I please drive?"

"I don't know, you haven't even taken a test."

"Tests are for people with low self esteem. I don't have low self esteem, it's a mistake."

"Don't quote me." She ordered.

"Can I drive then?"


She scooted over into the passenger seat and I hopped back into my rightful place before slamming the door and we where off again, speaking of off I noticed the CD on the portable CD player was off as well.

"Want me to put something on Daria?"

"What do you have?"

"Well, let's see. The Blues Brothers, Blues Brothers 2000, Blues Brothers: Made In America, Briefcase Full of Blues, Blues Traveler, Live from Chicago's House of Blues, Millennium Blues Party, Essential Chicago Blues and a couple old REM tapes."

"Your music sound cheery."

"Like you're any better. Oh, I also have the Best of Sam & Dave and Weird Al."

"What's Sam & Dave?"

"It's stuck in the eight track player. Just push play."

She obliged and soon the car was filled with the smooth sounds of Sam & Dave. For some reason I love their music, even if it is all upbeat love songs from the late '60's. After about thirty seconds Daria turned that off.

"What was that?"

"Sam & Dave. It came with the car and I couldn't get it out of the eight track player."

"Good excuse."

She sat back and relaxed, just taking in the scenery, we had moved into a break into the forest and where now running through a field. She put her short legs up on the seat, these old benches had plenty of leg room. I stole a quick look at her- the black look (black skirt, shirt & boots) was her.

"Let's see how Trent and the guys are doing."


She picked up with CB whip from the dash and stuck it out the window. I grabbed the mike off the dash and called in on our frequency.

"This is Elwood J. Blues & Mona Lisa calling Jim Morrison, come in Jim, over?"

A moment later a response came crackling over the mike. "Hey Elwood, we're doing fine, thanks for pulling those cops off of us. I'll buy you a burger later. What's you situation?" Trent replied.

"We're doing fine. Nothing bad has happened yet, so we're still waiting on it"

I saw Daria smirk.

"See you at the concert then Jim."



"Oh yeah, later Na- Elwood."

We ended the conversation so I put up the mike and Daria put the whip back in.


"What is your real name?"

I told her.

"That's a pretty good name I guess."

We drove without trouble for awhile longer before we crossed a bridge and up ahead we could see real trouble. A roadblock was set up at the tree line, it was an amassed double row of police cars with cops standing at the ready with shotguns and rifles. I could see through my thick dark sunglasses some dogs as well when I squinted.

"I bet they have some spike strips set up too." Daria remarked.

"Daria, put it on track three."

"Gimme Some Lovin'? I prefer Peter Gunn."

"Whatever works for you."

I pushed the engine to it's max. We were sailing to the tune of Gimme Some Lovin'.

"What are you going to do?" Now Daria sounded worried.

"Fasten your seat belt and keep all arms & legs in the vehicle at all times. If this doesn't work tell them I kidnapped you."

She fastened her seat belt.


"Daria if this fails I want you to know I love you. Yes I have a thing for you and I wish I had said something sooner. And yes, I mean all of that."

We were upon the roadblock and I could see the strips, I hit the brakes and swerved off the paved road into the forest.

"There's a redneck joke about this." I said out loud.

I jerked around to avoid hitting trees; the Monaco wasn't built for this kind of off road abuse. I dodged several more trees and we ramped off of something sending the car a few feet in the air before it hit the ground hard and I got us back on the road. We did it. We got past the roadblock and no one was dead. I hoped. I looked over at Daria. She was badly shaken and her glasses were missing.

"You okay?"
"Shaken but not stirred." She shakily replied.

"Where's your glasses?"

"I think they fell out of the window when we hit that thing before getting back on the road."

I pulled a glasses case from my pocket and opened it one handed. I then took the wheel with my knees.

"This is quite a time to decide you need to change your glasses."

"Don't worry, I'm Californian." I took off my dark prescription sunglasses and slipped on my regular glasses.

"I'm not sure if they're your prescription, but try them on."

She slipped on my dark sunglasses. They looked good on her face, but that's just my opinion. The black frames & lenses completed her look.

"How does everything look?" I inquired.

"Close enough. Thanks."

We drove in silence awhile longer. Eventually Daria spoke up.

"Did you mean what you said back there?"

"Every word."


"Let's raise Trent." I suggested. She held up a broken CB antenna.

"My boots landed on it wrong. Sorry."

"Tell that to Max, it's his."

We drove for awhile longer with our fuel running low, it was now noon. Then I saw our salvation- a road side gas station was up ahead. I drove on past it.

"Did you see that gas station back there?"


"Why didn't you stop?"

"We can't pull into a station without every cop for miles descending on us."

I slowed the cruiser down when I saw a break in the woods, I slowed even more and drove off road and into the forest as far as I could without having to avoid anything.

"I see." Daria said.

We got out and covered the back end of the Bluesmobile with foliage before walking the 300 yards to the gas station. It was a Stuckeys, the most luxurious of all roadside gas station chains. We went inside to find it truly did have everything. A food place, a store, and a bathroom. We hit those first. After that we grabbed a bite to eat. We had the dry toast special without a word between us. We finished and just sat there before she finally spoke.

"If we want to go to the festival what are we waiting for?"

The moment the words where out of her mouth a fleet of police cars flew by.

"That. Let's wait five minutes then we'll start up again."

"Sounds good."

"You okay with what I said back there, because I was being honest. I have a nasty habit of doing that."

"Well…I guess I could do worse." I think that was her sign of acceptance. Works for me.

We then bought what we needed- two five gallon cans of fuel I had to lug and two bags of candy and drinks for poor Daria to carry. We got back into the car and I had to say it.

"We got 62 miles to Swedesville, a full tank of gas, half a pound of candy, a few more hours till dark and you're wearing my sunglasses. "

"Hit it."

I back up and soon we were cruising the limit of 75 on our way to Swedesville with the Blues Brothers 2000 soundtrack going on in the background. For about half an hour we drove on before Daria tried starting up a conversation again.

"Why do you have that feather in your hat?"

"Ever hear of Carlos Hathcock?


"Greatest sniper who ever lived. A true hunter, 93 confirmed and 200 unconfirmed kills."

"Everyone needs a role model." Daria replied.

"Yeah, he never snapped. His career was cut short when he rescued seven men from a burning Amtrac, he literally lost his skin over it."


"Then he refused any form of reward for his actions saying any of them would have done it for him."

"He over estimates people."

"Marine are weird like that."

"Reminds me of a guy I once knew- he would shout '1,2,3,4 I love the Marine Corps when he exercised."

"Whatever happened to him?"

"He joined the army when he found out they'd pay him more."

"Kids are stupid."

"I knew the epitome of stupid- they were called Beavis and Butt-Head."

She told me about them for a while. Mostly stuff I already knew from when I was little and my dad would tell me stuff about them, but I love hearing her soothing voice so I just listened. Eventually things quieted back down and she tried to sleep some before we got there. Then as she dozed off and the CD finished playing we drove past the Swedesville city limit sign.

"Welcome to Swedesville, home of the biggest excuse to make loud noises and party drunk since Woodstock sold out."

"But it's still no Altamont."

"Guess they can't top having the security guards beat people to death"'

Then we got stuck in traffic. Cars were converging on this little town big time. But we could definitely hear the music. Or maybe it was a broken car horn, not that there's much of a difference.

"Look's like we're stuck in traffic." Daria noted about our situation.


I looked around. No cops in sight.

"Daria please open the glove compartment."

She did.

"Is this what you want?"

She pulled out a little red siren and handed it to me.


I stuck it on top of my car and turned it on. In less than a minute we had plenty of driving room. We drove on down to the gas station we had agreed on, put away the light and the waiting began. Then I realized we hadn't touched the candy or the sodas. I picked one up off the floor.

"Want it?"

I handed it to her and took a coke for myself.

"I should probably get rid of some of those extra gas cans. I'll be back in a moment."

She nodded. I got out and circled around the car to open the back door. I grabbed the two excess cans and threw them away. Then I saw something Daria might want.

"Daria, what's black on the outside and clear in the center?

"My mother's chicken?"

I leaned into her open window with her glasses in my hand.

"Try again."

"Thanks." She took them and began to take off the dark sunglasses.

"You can keep wearing those if you want."

She slipped them back on.

"I like the idea no one can see my eyes."

I handed her my glasses case and she put hers in it. Then I put it back in my pocket. I shut the back door and just looked around. Cars as far as I could see. Across from us was a field filled with them. The road too, they where all lined up and moving slowly. Then I saw a Harley come up over the hill beside the road.

"We got company."

Neal & Jane came down the hill and into the parking lot. He stuck his boot onto the ground to help him turn as they drew nearer and they pulled up beside us.

"I see you beat the crowd." I remarked.

"You can say that." He replied.

"Hey Neal, when this trip started weren't those glasses on Napalm?" Jane pointed out.

It was time to start exchanging stories as we waited for the Tank.

Part Three- Harley Davidson and the Lawndale Chick

(Neal’s Story)

Jane hit the cruiser’s hood dead on and the mayo splattered up onto the windshield. The cops swerved off of the road and the second cruiser took off after us. We zipped past Napalm and on down the road.

We came to the fork and I turned onto the left road. We drove with the squad car quickly catching up. The road we were on became rougher as it headed into some good old New England backcountry.

"Can we outrun them!?" Jane yelled over the sound of the air whipping past.



"So we just have to be creative!"

I veered off of the road and into the woods, swerving around trees and crashing through underbrush. "Keep your head down! They can’t follow but they might shoot!"

I got far enough into the woods that I was sure they couldn’t have followed. Then I slowed down.

"Are you trying to get us killed!?" Jane yelled.

"You kidding me?! We’re too young to Die!" I laughed.

"You know they’ll patrol that road until they find us."

"Then I guess we can’t go back on that road."

We pushed on through the woods. It was kinda nice.

"This is definitely the scenic route." I said.

"Yeah, I wish I had my sketchpad."

"Too bumpy to use it."

"I guess."

Just then we came out of the woods and onto an old county road. I stopped by the edge and looked around. No one was coming.

"Perfect. Jane, what time is it?"

"Around two. Why?"

"We’re gonna be late if we don’t book." I gunned it.

We were sailing down the road at around 80 mph when we passed a dirt road. Parked at the intersection was a familiar Crown Victoria.

"Neal! Cops!" Jane yelled.

I nodded. I buzzed by them and they pulled out behind me. They kept right on my ass crowding me, trying to get me off of the road. We passed another road and another cop pulled out.

"Shit!" I looked up ahead. Rail road tracks. The lights were flashing and I could see the train. The cops had dropped back so I could stop.

"I think this is the end of the line!" Jane said.

"Not quite!" I skidded to a stop and fishtailed around to face the cops. They had parked in a V facing me with about a foot between the bumpers. They were fifty yards down the road. I narrowed my eyes and revved the engine.

"What are you doing?" Jane asked.

"I got an idea. If this doesn’t work, we’ll end up in the hospital. Tell ‘em I kidnapped you." With that I blasted towards the cars picking up speed very quickly. When I hit ninety I yelled. "Lean Back!"

We both leaned back and to my surprise our combined weight brought the chopper up onto it’s back wheel. We buzzed right between the cars, with inches to spare on either side. The cops scrambled to get back into their cars.

I turned down a side road and pulled into the forest. I killed the engine and climbed off.

"C’mon we have to set it on it’s side."


"So we can camouflage it! There’s a town on the other side of those tracks and we can’t just drive in, we’d have every porkchop in the county down on us!"

Jane’s eyes narrowed. "Don’t you even fucking think about yelling at me! You almost got me killed you asshole!" She pounded on my chest. The adrenaline had worn off and reality had crashed in. She stood there arms crossed, tearing up.

I tried to put my arms around her but she shrugged them off. I tilted her head up with my hand and wiped off the forming tears. "I… I’m sorry. For everything, but we’re up shit creek if we don’t hide this thing. C’mere baby." I held her until I heard the engines of the police cars.

"Now will you help?"

She nodded haltingly and we tipped the chopper over. We covered it with branches real quick and then crouched low. The cops sped on past us. I got up and helped Jane to her feet.

I put my arm around her waist and gently turned her to face me. "Are you alright?"

"Are you?"

Then it hit me. The rush wore off and the fatigue that always comes next set in. I did it. I almost fucking killed Jane. She was closer to the road. And those cops could’ve just shot us and…

I stood there and thought all of this horrible stuff. Jane pulled me out of my daymare.

"Are you alright?"

"God… I could’ve killed you. I… I could have… I…" I looked at Jane. I love her… I actually love her… I’d put my own life before hers.

She put her hand on my cheek, like you would soothe a child. "Shhh. There are a helluva lot of ‘could haves’ in this life. I could have been a cheerleader. You could have stayed home and let us die. But you didn’t and I didn’t and we are who we are because of what happened, not because of what could have happened. We’re alive and that’s all that matters."

I nodded and sighed. "Let’s get a move on. Town’s about a half mile away."

And so we walked off along the side of the road. Each step felt like ten, the fatigue was really getting us. It was around three thirty when we got into town. There was a convenience store by the rail road tracks.

We entered. Jane headed to the coffee machine and I walked over to the counter. "Marlboro 100’s and a lighter." He reached for the ‘lights’. "No. Red tops."

I paid and stuffed them in my jacket pocket. Then Jane walked up with two cups of coffee. I paid for them and then I got an idea.

"Hey, does this town have a hardware store?"

"Sure. It’s just up the block."


Jane and I walked outside.

"Why do you need a hardware store?"

I smirked and sipped my coffee. "You’ll see."

We entered the hardware store and walked up to the counter. "Excuse me do you have two inch tarpaper tacks?"

I bought a bagful of tacks and we left the store. Jane had a look of understanding.

"Trying to avoid county corrections?"

"You know me too well… so now I must destroy you." I made as if to strangle her. She sidestepped.

I shook my head. We were walking along the road outside of town. I pulled out the cigarettes and shook one out.

"I didn’t know you smoked."

I shrugged. "Only when my life goes to new levels of fucked up… This day definitely counts."

She nodded. "Can I have one?"

I arched an eyebrow and looked at her.

"What?" She asked, defensively. "I’m always open to new things."

I shrugged again and gave her mine. She took a hit and almost coughed her lungs up. It took all the will I could muster not to laugh.

"Don’t worry that happens to everyone. You wanna quit?"

"No." She’s determined, I’ll give her that.

I lit another one up for myself and we walked on. Smoking in silence. Then Jane spoke up. "You know this is supposed to take ten years off of your life."

"Yeah, but like Denis Leary said. It’s the ten years of baby food and adult diapers that I don’t want."

Jane chuckled. "Leave it to Denis Leary to put things into perspective."

We got back to the chopper and put it upright. Then we sat down and leaned against it.

"What time is it?"

Jane pulled a watch from her jacket pocket. " Four o five on the dot."

I nodded. "We’d better be off then."

"No more vehicular acrobatics right?"

"I promise."

We rode off down the road, skirting around the town. It was really nice country.

"Do you think they’re still looking for us?"


"What do we do if they catch up to us again?"

"We tack ‘em, see how many that takes care of. Then try and outrun the rest."

"What if they catch us?"

"Before or after the tacks?"


"Well, I’ll be arrested for speeding, reckless endangerment, lack of insurance, lack of tags, resisting arrest and vandalism. You’ll get off scott free."


" You’ll tell them you’re a hitchhiker and I picked you up. You don’t know anything about the rest of this mess. Got it!?"

"I will not, I’m going down for this with you."

"No you aren’t! I Love you way too much to let that happen!"

"You what! You Love me?"

"Yes! And if you don’t tell them I kidnapped you then I will."

"What happens if they catch us after the tacks?"

"Well then you can add destruction of public property and aggravated assault to the list. I’ll be a multiple felon."

"We can’t let that happen!"

"I know."

We rode in silence for a while then. The scenery rolled past. Forest, intermittently interrupted by fields and farms. Then the traffic started picking up.

"We must be getting close." Jane said.

I nodded. I pulled around an eighteen-wheeler and looked ahead. Then I realized why the traffic was getting congested.

"Jane, I don’t want to worry you but there’s a police checkpoint on the bridge."

"Aw hell. What do we do now?"

I looked around. And a little ways up the river I saw our salvation. I turned off of the road and once again into the forest.

"Don’t you get tired of this?" Jane asked.

"But I want to take in the scenery."

"Where are we headed?"

"There’s a railroad bridge up here. If we go slow we can cross the bridge on the ties."

"Are you absolutely insane?"

"Yes, but that’s beside the point. Do you have a better idea?"

"I guess you’re right."

We got to the railroad line and rode beside it until we came to the bridge. It would be bumpy going but I could make it… Alone.

"Jane, I want you to get off and walk across the bridge."


"You have to walk, there’s a good chance I’m gonna topple anyway, I don’t need to worry about you. Your safety is all I care about."

"But I want to be with you."

"You will be, once I get to the other side."

"What if you don’t get to the other side."

"I’ll make it, I promise. Now go."

She got off of the chopper. I pulled her close and kissed her.

"For luck. Go."

She tentatively stepped onto the first tie. Then she stepped to the second. It was a slow process, but she finally made it to the other side. She waved for me to cross. I eased the chopper over the rail onto the ties. I slowly started to cross.

It was bumpy as hell and hard to keep balanced. I was a little more than halfway across when Jane started waving frantically and pointing behind me. I stopped and turned around. Then I heard the whistle just as I saw the train coming.

I turned and started toward the other bank. God, let me get out of this in one piece.

I gunned it. I was dead either way so I figured I should at least try to beat the train. It was coming up quick. I was doing all I could to maintain my balance and decent speed. I made it across and jumped the rail. The bike stalled and I fell off. Both I and it rolled down the embankment.

Jane ran up. "Are you alright!?"

"I think I broke some ribs." There was an intense pain in my chest.

"Will you be alright? Do you need to go to a hospital?"

"No! They’d arrest me there. Besides doctors can’t do much for busted ribs anyway. C’mon, help me get the bike upright."

I winced as I stood. Jane and I managed to get the chopper upright.

"Let’s go."

Jane only nodded. This has got to be one of the worst days of both our lives.

I started the bike and we rode along the river’s edge until we came to a place where the embankment was gradual enough to get the chopper up it. We rode through the woods for awhile. Then came out on the road again. I didn’t see any cops so I just rode along the side to avoid the traffic that was getting progressively worse.

Then I heard the siren. I looked behind me and saw two cycle cops closing quick.

"Pull over!" One of them yelled.

I sighed and sped up. "Jane, reach into the saddle bag and dump the nails on those bastards. They’ve ruined my life enough."

"Gotcha." I felt her bend over to feel around. Then I heard her give a loud yell. I turned around and saw the bag burst open in front of the cops. They hit the tacks and toppled off of their bikes as their tires blew. They had tried to stop so I doubt they were hurt.

We followed the traffic along the side of the road as fast as we could. We crested a hill and saw a gas station at the bottom. There was a familiar Monaco in the parking lot. I smirked.

"Looks like they won the race."

We pulled into the parking lot. Napalm and Daria were standing beside the car. I pulled up and balance on my leg to turn and get in close to the ‘bluesmobile’.

"I see you beat the crowd." Napalm said as I parked.

I looked at him. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. "You could say that."

"Hey Neal, when this trip started weren’t those glasses on Napalm?" Jane asked.

It was time to exchange war stories while we waited for the Tank.

Part Four- Carpe Noctorne

(Neal’s Night)

I sat on the ground, leaning against the ‘bluesmobile’. The Spiral had scared up a 55-gallon drum and some detritus to start a fire. We had ‘circled the wagons’, so to speak, in a field a ways from the fairgrounds. It was getting dark, but the fire provided some good light.

My chest hurt. It was bruised all to hell but I don’t think I actually broke anything. It hurt to move around a lot, so I just sat there. I was thinking about what had happened during the events of the day, what new courses my life had taken.

I can’t believe I told Jane I love her. What do I do now? Does she love me? God, I almost got her killed. If it had just been me I could deal with it. But I almost got her killed…

Then someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see who it was, and winced with the pain. It was Jane and she looked worried.

"Are you alright?"

"I will be."

"Here." She held out a hip flask.

"What’s in it?"

"Jesse’s Wild Turkey. He said it would deaden the pain."

"No, just my senses. I’m thankful anyway." I took a swig from the flask and shuddered as the whiskey burned my throat. "Here. I’m not a drinker. That’s enough."

She nodded and slipped the flask into her jacket pocket. "About what you said today."

"I said a lot today."

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah, I guess I do. I did mean it."


"Oh yeah." I gazed off. Napalm and Daria were sitting and talking nearer the fire. Trent, Jesse and Nick were playing some drinking game. Max was off by himself. Then I decided.



"Will you marry me?"

"What! That whiskey got right on top of you didn’t it?"

"No. I mean it. You don’t have to answer now, or tomorrow or next week or this year. I just want you to know I mean it and the question is out there. This may seem a little fast but what can I say…" I shrugged, not knowing how to finish.

"I… I don’t know what to say."

"Don’t say anything. Just think about it… My side is killing me, I’m gonna hit the sack." I stood and retrieved the bedroll from the chopper. I spread it out near the fire and crawled in the sleeping bag. I winced at the pain of movement but soon settled in. I looked over and saw Jane standing, deep in thought, staring into the fire.

"G’night love." I whispered. Then I blinked and everything went black.

Part Five- Late Nights, Early Mornings.

(Napalm’s Night)

It was some time after midnight when the party stopped for those of us sober enough to go to sleep. The vehicles had been parked in wagon train fashion around fire built in a 55 gallon drum. We had finished having a little fun around the fire and it was time to rest. Daria and I mumbled something about "seats" to each other. I'm not sure what, neither of us was awake really. I got in the driver's seat and she got in the passenger side. Once in I glanced at her.

"I thought I had the front seat?" I asked.

"I thought you said I should?"

"Oh, did I?" I was honestly too tired to remember.

"Maybe." She was blinking.

"You tired?" I asked as I strained to see her through tired eyes.

"Kinda." Her head slumped back against the side. I took off my glasses and set them on the dash before rubbing my eyes.

"That's nice." Then I blinked.

When I awoke all I saw was black. My head was pressed against something. I blinked some and thought this was it. I'd gone blind. But why did blindness feel like cotton? I lifted my head and blurry made out the form of the girl before me. I must have nodded at some point and just dropped straight on her.


No response. VERY good. I knew I fell asleep after she did because I think she would have killed me for falling asleep on her. I tried conjuring up thoughts of last night, where had I left my glasses?

I reached my hand over and found them on the dash. I put them on and strained to clear my eyes. I managed to focus on Daria and that was good enough. Finally I noticed the sun wasn't up yet. I checked my pocket watch and found it to be a little after six am. Chances are I was the only non-local up in a five mile radius.

"Sleep tight." I patted Daria on the shoulder before getting out. I stretched and walked over to the sleeping bag. Weren't they cute. Dammit, cute couples depress single guys like me. I glance over at Daria. Maybe not for much longer though. I walk over to the Tank and glanced in, but Jesse's boot blocked most of my view. Situation: normal. I could see the gas station in the distance and decided I was up for the walk. I would have drove but I didn't want to wake Daria.

The walk to the gas station was uneventful but then I saw something that made me stop in my tracks- Three Sheriff's cars. Just like the ones we out ran the other day. I knew they never saw my face so I felt safe to walk in. I entered the shop and saw four troopers sitting at the table drinking coffee. Another was talking with the owner. As I went to the Cappuccino machine and began to fill up a 64 oz. cup I listened in on them.

"So you catch the villains?" The owner asked.

"No sir, but we did get the plate number of the van, unfortunately the shitbox Dodge accelerated too quickly and the damn Harley had an anarchy plate in place of tags so in a place like this that's a useless lead to follow up on."

I needed to go warn the guys!

"OW!" I yelped. I had over filled the Cappuccino and some got onto my hand. The troopers took notice and looked at me funny. I made a smug grimace and then proceeded to fill up six more coffee cups. I decided I had to stall the cops. I took the drinks up to the cashier and he rung up the cost. I paid then motioned to the troopers.

"Sir, here's ten, the next round of coffee for these guys is on me." I announced.

As I hurried back to our little encampment I knew now no one could say I didn't respect the forces of law and order. Or the local sheriff's department. This might be an interesting day.


Neal’s Author’s Notes: I want to thank Napalm, without whom this fic would never have been written. Thank you. Next. Did I propose to Jane! What the Hell is wrong with me? Nothing. What’s with Napalm and Daria? Are they getting together? Looks that way don’t it. You might want to ask Napalm about that though. Some of the things you did on that motorcycle couldn’t be done! You’re probably right. With the exception of the Railroad bridge. That little scene comes, train chase and all, from the pages of my Uncle Randy’s life story.

Napalm's Author's Notes: I'm glad Neal's letting me do this story with him. I thought it was an interesting premise to say the least. You may be wondering about some of the stuff my alter ego did in the car. Yes, I admitted my feelings to Daria, yes I finished my story before Neal and he borrowed some stuff from me and yes, a Monaco interceptor can do nearly 140 under the right conditions. But can anyone tell me what you call that little hole you put the gas into the car? About Daria- I'm going to get with her even if it kills me.