#31DaysOfWriting: Third Man In

Opening Scene

We were late. Scott pulled out of the rink parking lot in front of a line of traffic without slowing down.

“Two more minutes and I’d’ve won,” he said, referring to the tie we’d settled for in our one-on-one hockey session. We usually tried to get at least an hour in before school.

“Dream on.” I shoved my equipment bag over the seat.

Just ahead of us the stoplight changed from green to yellow.

“We’re going,” Scott warned inching down the accelerator of his Chevy Nova. We blew threw the intersection a good couple of seconds after the light turned red; a horn blast echoed behind us.

“I’d rather miss first period then not get there at all,” I said, bracing my hands against the dash as we sped around another corner. I could feel the Nova’s fat tires grabbing the road.

“You forget. We have Hannaford first.”

“He’d be touched by your enthusiasm.”

With a grin he jerked the steering wheel back and forth causing the car to swerve from side to side as we cruised down a straight stretch of road.

“At least find the rhythm.” I leaned over and turned up the stereo so that the windows vibrated. I bobbed my head in time to the pounding drums. Scott jerked the wheel on the off beat and I couldn’t help but laugh. I shook my head.

“Be my guest.” Scott let go of the wheel, his hands poised in the air.

“Watch and learn.” I grabbed the wheel with my left hand, tugging it toward me in time to the music. “Whoa! Brake.” I turned the wheel hard away from me, veering the Nova into the other lane to avoid hitting the opening door of a parked car, then pulled back hard into our lane to avoid an oncoming car. “Yours.”

“Could have had a door prize.” Scott laughed and took the wheel. “Time?”

“About five minutes to first period.”

“We’re toast.” He gunned the engine and we turned onto the road leading to Vestrich where we wound up behind a poky, rusted out Subaru. “Oh, come on!” Scott shouted. He pulled within inches of the Subaru’s bumper as we made our way along the snake-curved road. He alternately rode the guy’s bumper, then backed off about a car length before speeding up again to within a few inches of the slow-moving car. The road straightened out just before the school and Scott sped up, pulling out around the Subaru, and then, without slowing down, he cut back into the right lane in front of the Subaru, steered the Nova into the student lot and the first empty space we found. Yeah, it was a ’69, but it still had juice (mostly because Scott was constantly tinkering with the engine).

Seconds later we were racing across the snow-patched parking lot toward the high school.

“I can’t afford another Hannaford paper,” Scott yelled in-between strides. “Coach is already riding me about grades because of that class.” He was pulling ahead of me. The dry frosty air made my teeth ache and burned my lungs as I took a deep breath and tried to swallow. There were still a few people outside, but they were mostly smokers squeezing in a quick puff or two before the start of first period. They didn’t seem to mind showing up to class after the bell. Then again, most of them weren’t in Hannaford’s class.

“I’m guessing we’ve got about two and half,” I shouted. At least we had the front doors in sight. “Agghhh!” I twisted my knee when my foot hit a patch of ice on the school sidewalk; I slowed to a hobbled jog working through the instant, shooting pain. Scott shot a glance over his shoulder but didn’t stop running until he collided with a kid coming up from the other direction. The guy was looking at a piece of paper so his head was down and he didn’t see Scott until Scott was on top of him.

Scott was pulling the kid to his feet with one hand and opening the door with the other. “Sorry, man, you okay?” Scott asked as I reached them. Scott was half way through the front door, checking the clock at the top of the stairs before the kid could respond.

“No blood, no foul,” the kid said to Scott’s back. “Point me to the office and we’ll call it even.”

“Top of the stairs,” Scott yelled as he sprinted the final steps. He spun around and nodded at my knee. “You okay?”

“I’m good. Go,” I shouted, “I’ll deal with Hannaford.” As we’d stepped inside, we were quickly and easily swallowed up by the chaos of a Monday morning at Vestrich High — locker doors were slamming, voices were running over each other, guys were wrestling in front of one of the doors into the auditorium and a group of girls were passing around lip gloss, hairspray and a small mirror heading into gym class.

“I owe you one.” I heard Scott clearly over the crowd. “Hey, you don’t think he’ll quiz us on those chapters, do ya?” His voice faded into the chaos and I was enveloped by kids racing to lockers and classes. When I reached the bottom of the stairs I looked around for the new guy.

Let’s Chat

Are you along for the ride with Scott and Alec? Were you in the car with them? I’d love to hear your reader’s perspective on the guys and the start to their day.

follow my writing journey at http://judithheaney.com.