RIDING SHOTGUN IN LIFE
a short story draft
By Vann Crow
The windows were down and the engine was roaring. Dusty and hot in the fast lane, we were cruising. Tim drove while I sat shotgun on the mission. Our priority? Get some end of the day suds. Slapping up drywall at our construction job produced serious thirst.
We had not a care about being filthy dirty for the operation. Smiling from ear to ear we rolled down the road in a modified, over the top, souped-up convertible built-to-the-tilt 1969 Camaro. It is lightning blue and ferocious. At a stoplight we jumped out and flipped the ragtop open to maximize cooling. It’s our after work routine.
Tim stomped it when the light changed. The tires smoked up in an instant. The rear of the car screamed in a fishtail with all the rage of manhood.
He bang shifted two gears, each time ripping the tires and pavement, while we screamed, “Hell yeah!”
And then it happened. Something flew into my mouth going straight to the back of my throat.
Tim looked over. I looked back.
“Man… I just swallowed something!”
Tears formed and I felt my face turn a couple of shades past red.
“You OK man?”
At first I thought I was OK, but something was all wrong.
“Dude, you’re hacking on a big ass bug? I saw it!”
Gagging and grasping for air, I couldn’t utter a word.
“I saw it man, it was huge!”
I was looking for something smart to say like, “It’s my dinner,” or some other crack, but it became apparent something was way wrong. I couldn’t swallow. It was hard to breathe and whatever it was, it’s alive and moving.
Tim saw that I was having a tough time with it, pulled over, and for a moment, I thought things would begin to chill out. Yes, it seemed to calm as if it had given up and moved down into the old food churner. I was able to breathe a little better and my skin was changing back to its normal color.
I thought, now all I have to do is live with that uncomfortable feeling…“Gulp”…hacking that occurs when you swallow something, “hack,…HACK”… the wrong way, until we get a couple swigs of those suds. You know the feeling, you hate it. It just lingers around.
“Dude that is the funniest thing I have every seen!” was the remark Tim made right before it happened.
::::WHAM! :::: A piercing sting into the back of my throat! It felt like a giant needle-sharp thorn had just stabbed into the most sensitive part of my body!
I went epileptic. I had no control. My body was in pure reaction. My arms were flapping all over the place. My legs were stomping the floorboard, and I slammed my back into the seat with convulsions. “I’m going to die!” I screamed.
Tim edged towards shock himself at the sight of me. He jumped as far away from me as he could inside the car. No room for laughing now.
I was in pain and he was scared!
As fast as the pain came, it went away. What was going on? Tim was now fumbling with his cell phone trying to call for help.
“Wait I think I’m ok, hold on a minute.” He lowered the phone momentarily.
“Yo wild man, I don’t know – you’re freaking me out.”
My mind was in an intense seesaw struggle. One minute I’m out of control, next I feel calm and really mellow. In fact, I feel really good, kind of numb, and sleepy.
That’s the last thing I remember before I woke up in what I thought was barn with all my cloths missing and my body covered in an odorless, clear slime.
:: ONE SECOND LATER -TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THREE UNIVERSAL YEARS LATER ::
Squaaaak….CRRRRRRK…Can you read me?..Hello READER…Crrrrrkkkk…CAN you read me now?…Can you read me now?
That should be good. Pardon my interruption of your reading…It’s me Alex.
Well I did remember a flash, I think. It could have been just a sneeze. At this point it is but a faded memory. My name is Alex Coogle. One thing is for sure, that day was the beginning of all the new in the future days of my life. I call it a renaissance coming out of the dark ages.
I have to tell you, that day, well, it went straight to the top of the charts of my WOW!… days. I never saw my friend Tim or my family again. I become rather lonely in thought when I think of them, but I manage it.
If I were in your shoes right now, I might be wondering what the heck just happened with this story, but before I get into it, I have to warn you, what I am about to express is not for everyone. I can also tell you, if there was ever any doubt in your mind that we are not alone in the universe, please let me be clear as possible, WE ARE NOT ALONE.
You see, once I was a young redneck southerner with absolutely no clue about life. Now, due to extraordinary circumstances I am a well traveled galaxy hopper. And, the coolest thing is only one second of my Earth life has passed, but I have lived 253 universal years. You’re probably smirking and saying, “Oh boy this is a real zinger,” and maybe you might even be considering moving on to another story, but I say just wait a few more paragraphs then I will let you go.
I know, I said I would explain what happened. You are curious as to what I was gagging on and what immediately changed my life forever, but it’s actually not the point of this story. You see, this is not a normal story. The whole first part was used to get your attention.
That day I was riding shotgun in a hot rod muscle car from the nineteen sixtes and now I am the new managing sales director of Universal Life Travel Company. Recently, we upgraded our system to better accommodate human planetary space travel. Since I was formerly human, I now manage team of sales people throughout the 42nd sector of what you know as the Milky Way Galaxy. And, no, I did not borrow that number from Douglas. Just go ask one of those real smart physicists they will tell you there is such a place.
Before managing and being a company salesperson, my long time idea was to expand the untapped market of Earth and its surrounding life bearing planets. After all, it’s the home planet. So, if you are reading this, please know it’s an advertisement and you’re potentially a great candidate to receive a trial travel pass. It’s free and with full family and friend reinstatement guarantee if you are not satisfied. It has been placed in special places to attract mavens who can help slowly spread the word about the ability of space travel. You see, we, and by “WE” I mean the people of the SETTA (or better yet the Beings of the Universe) cannot just show up on Earth and say, “Hello, Here we are. Would you like to travel around the Universe?” It would be a real mess. You have seen the movies. The governments would get involved and try to destroy us, or the rich people would try to buy and hide us for themselves. No, we cannot do it that way. So what I decided to do was write a couple short story contest entries, then enter them periodically over time in various competitions and wait to see who could figure out the secret code. I think the secret code thing is primo. Everyone always seems to like things that have mystery. We’re all just a bunch of problem solvers. I did try to remember how people were communicating around the time I took the new form, but all the FacedIn and PwitterBook stuff was just too much of scrambled up mess to get any real message out.
What I needed was to get in front of the people who can really get the word out in a positive way.
So to re-cap: The first part of this story was created to get your attention, the middle part of this story is to let you know you are not alone in the Universe and to let you know you can travel beyond any limit you can ever imagine. And, the final run to the finish is to let you know there is a code within the story that, if broken, will give you the directions on how to contact me Alex Coogle KB3MXV and learn how you can become a Universal Life Traveler. Good luck in finding the solution. If you do find it, then know you are who we are looking for to help spread the word….Signing off now…..crrrrrraaackkk…
:: THREE DAYS LATER – SEVERAL UNIVERSAL MILLENIUM YEARS LATER ::
“My sympathies. Mr. and Mrs. Coogle, I’m keeping you and your loved one in my prayers.” Thank you Tim. “You’re welcome. Who knew he was allergic to bees?”