Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Joy Ride

Chapter 1  - The Plan

“You don’t need keys to start it,” Mitchell whispered as he huddled with his friends on the school playground.

“No. There are some wires underneath the dashboard, and if you clip them and then put them together the engine starts right up,” said Greg with a snap of his fingers.

“When will we do it?” Jonathan asked.

“Tonight. We can come back here at 10:00 when everyone is gone,” said Mitchell.

“I gotta go and find my dad’s clippers. I’ll see you guys later,” Greg said.

“Are you going too?” Mitchell asked Jonathan.

“No, I’d go crazy at home. Do you want to play a game?” he asked tossing the basketball to his friend.

 “Sure,” said Mitchell catching the ball and dribbling it out to the court for a lay up. 

They played for an hour and then started home. They walked past the district office parking lot when Jonathan said, “Look at all the school buses parked nice and neat along the back fence waiting for us to pick one out.”

“You’ll be the lookout and Greg the mechanic. He can clip the wires and start the engine. I’ll do the driving, because I’m the tallest and then we can go pick-up Sylvia,” Mitchell said.

Tomorrow was Sylvia’s birthday and Mitchell thought it would be a cool surprise to pick her up in the bus since she lived outside the district and had to walk three miles each way, every single day. In five hours he and his two best friends would put his plan in motion.
Greg looked at the clock. It was early but he grabbed the clippers and a pair of gloves and headed out the door to the bus yard. When he arrived he saw Jonathan, “Hey man!”  Jonathan was standing in the bushes near the pavement. “You couldn’t wait either?”

“Nah, I felt like my stomach was on fire. It is better waiting out here,” Jonathan said. “Did you have any trouble getting out?”

“Nah, my parents fall asleep watching T.V. and my sister talks on the phone with her boyfriend for hours. They don’t know what I do after 9:00. Hey, looks like everybody left work early today," he said nodding his head toward the parking lot.

“Yeah, but we’ve got to wait for Mitchell,” Jonathan reminded him.

“We’ll just get the thing started. We won’t leave without him,” Greg said.

“Okay. We can warm up the engine and wait,” said Jonathan as they headed toward the bus.

“Which one should we take?” Greg asked.

“The biggest one,” laughed Jonathan.

They headed for the largest, shiniest bus.

Greg pushed on the door and it didn’t budge. Then he tried to put his fingers between the rubber and the metal but he couldn’t pry them open. “How are we going to open these doors?” Greg asked

Jonathan was small and muscular and he backed up for a running start. “Get out of my way,” he said. Then he ran to the door ramming it with his shoulder. “Ouch,” he buckled over in pain.

Greg was taller and beefier. “Let me try,” he said. He stepped back and then ran forward and hit the door with enough force it knocked him to the ground but still didn’t open.

“What do we do now?” asked Jonathan.

“We’ll ram it together,” Greg said without hesitation.

Both boys backed up about six feet and took a run at the bus hitting the door. At ten years old they hit hard but had little impact. They both got up and were ready to make a second run when they saw the red and blue flashing lights of a patrol car. "What are you boys doing?" shouted the officer.

Without looking at his friend, Jonathan ran to the dark alley behind the buses and disappeared between the houses. Greg froze, staring at the bright glare from the flashlight as Officer Shelly approached him. “I…um…I … left my homework on the bus!” He stammered. 

“You’ll have to get it tomorrow. Now go on home!”  She scolded.  Greg tore out of there without looking back. “Kids!” she thought to herself as she scanned the area. “They’re always forgetting their stuff.” Thinking back to this morning when she had to make a U turn in the middle of traffic to go back to pick up her daughter’s homework left on the dining room table.

Mitchell saw the flashing lights and heard the officer’s voice when he arrived. He stayed hidden in the shadows as he watched what was unfolding. He was glad he wasn’t with his buddies but was frustrated they were caught. He wasn’t going to let a cop scare him from his mission. He would have to wait until the coast was clear.  The patrol car lingered for a long time after the boys ran off but it finally drove away. It was almost 10:30.

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