I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a novel in progress.
As they approached the sleek Swedish-made supercar, she wondered if she still had time to bail, just run, truck on out, get on her Ducati and scorch the canyon road. Or she could take Austin up to his favorite place, Crater Lake. He called it “park”, when he requested it with his computer. Her big boy, always with her, even when he wasn’t, a byproduct of her guilt for leaving him with the Harris family on a day when she could have been with him. But he didn’t mind staying one night because Mr. Harris always made egg toast for breakfast. And she needed her time away, periodically, for their mutual sanity.
Perhaps her escape fantasy was hatched from anxiety about this trip to the ocean. She really didn’t know Max Mann and was taking a chance. Of course, some would say, he was the one taking the chance, letting her drive, letting her near his wallet. Let them talk. When was the last time she cared what other people thought?
They started down the road toward Eagle Point, then followed the river toward Upper Table Rock where they pulled off onto a gravel wayside and switched seats. He had taught her what she needed to know and she took that knowledge out on the interstate.
“Instead of the ocean, we should take this thing east, around Steen’s Mountain. It could open up some real possibilities,” she jibed, gaining a feel for the supercar’s handling.
“And if you get arrested, you won’t have to worry about tonight’s sleeping arrangements,” he warned.
“Not my concern at the moment,” she smiled, crooking her crooked nose.
“Hold on to your belt buckle, counselor,” She downshifted, jerking him forward against the three-point harness.
“You’re riding a horse per kilo. Don’t be flippant.”
“No shit?” It was the first time she remembered seeing anything but cool control in his face. She considered backing off for a moment, then slapped the carbon shift knob with a hard palm and pushed it into sixth. They swung south out of Grants Pass towards the state line and then up the grade past the Oregon Caves, toward the Siskiyous and California. They were higher than Deadman, and with the windows down, she felt cooler and lighter than she had in weeks. The Koenigsegg launched them over the divide and as they dropped over the south side, she throttled down and cruised just above the speed limit, knowing that the state bulls tended to gather near the junction with Highway 101, just outside Crescent City.
“Smart girl. You’ve driven this way before?”
“Not for a while, and on the bike. It’s a little different. No shotgun,” she smiled, catching some sandy strands in her open mouth.
“Shotgun? Yeah, I guess I’m not used to sitting on this side either.” He pushed his sunglasses up his tan nose.
As they approached the ocean, she felt the temperature continue to drop. Even with August heat, the air grew dense, almost visible. She wanted to run into the surf, chase an Irish setter, screech like a seagull, skip a sand dollar, sidestep a crab, see her reflection in a tide pool, light a campfire, spot a whale spout, listen to a seal bark and eat clam chowder. Unfortunately, most of California had the same idea, and they were greeted with a traffic jam as they headed north along the coast.