A Honeybun and Coffee(10)

By: Sam Cheever

“Thank God!” Angie gasped. They ran toward the cab, threw themselves into it, and Alastair yelled, “Drive! Now!”

The little old woman in the front seat turned to them and smiled, her small, gray head bobbling dangerously on a scrawny neck as she saw the little dog and started making automatic cooing noises. “What a cute baby. Hello sweetie, what’s your name?”

Alastair’s head had been swiveling around frantically as the old woman dithered and fussed, reaching a gnarled old hand toward Jaws and laughing in pleasure as the little dog gave her hand an affectionate lick.

“Lady, we want to hire this cab, but we’re in a real hurry. Do you think we could leave now?” Alastair’s pale, sweaty face had grown even paler as the two men emerged from the trees behind them. The thugs spotted the cab almost immediately and started toward it.

The old woman was looking back and forth, from the house where the cab was parked to the little dog. Her confusion was obvious. “I told him I’d wait here.” She said.

The two men were nearly on them. Alastair screamed, “Lady, drive!”

She jerked and turned around, gunning the engine without putting the cab into drive. Alastair surged over the seat and grabbed the gear shift, plunging it into drive before the engine slowed down so that the car jerked forward immediately, leaving a patch on the road behind them.

The two thugs broke into a run and Alastair screamed again, “Drive this cab lady! Now!”

The old woman stomped on the gas and they flew away from the curb, narrowly missing the cars that were parked on either side of the street as they went.

The old woman’s hands on the steering wheel were shaking and her eyes were impossibly wide, but after a moment she let out a whoop and settled in to enjoy the experience.

They lost the two men fairly quickly but then the cab started slowing down until they were nearly crawling down the street. Angie, who had been watching anxiously out the back window, gave Alastair a meaningful glance and he leaned toward the old woman in the front seat. “Excuse me ma’am, can you drive this thing any faster?”

She grinned at him. “Not with a baby on board,” she gave Jaws a meaningful glance and the little dog barked in response.”

Alastair flung himself back into the seat with a muttered curse.

“No cursing, young man.” The woman’s shaky voice didn’t take away from the note of maternal censure that came standard with all mother models. Alastair muttered an automatic apology and rolled his eyes at Angie. She grinned and shook a finger at him until he smiled.

They creaked and wobbled down the street until Alastair couldn’t take it anymore. He finally dug his wallet out of his pocket and told the old lady to stop the cab. He handed her a twenty dollar bill and they climbed out of the back seat. They left her sitting there staring at the bill like she’d never seen one before.

“Who the heck lets an old lady drive a cab anyway.” Alastair complained as they jogged up the street.

Angie nodded in breathless agreement. “Where are we going?”

“How do I know? I’m winging it here.”

As they ran they kept an eye out for the dark blue SUV. They were just passing the YMCA when they spotted it coming toward them and they ducked inside. Huddled in the entranceway they watched the car roll slowly by, the gun wielding thug staring toward them as they passed.

“Do you think he saw us?” Angie asked, still gasping for breath.

“I don’t think so, they’d have stopped if they had.” After a couple of minutes they peered out the door and saw that the SUV had stopped beside the cab and one of the men was leaning down, talking to the elderly cab driver.

Angie didn’t know if the woman had seen them duck into the building but she wasn’t willing to wait around to find out. Grabbing Alastair’s hand she gave it a tug. “Come on.”

He tucked Jaws into the front of his jacket and followed. “Where are you taking me?”

“I take yoga classes here, there’s a door that leads into an alley at the back of the building. We sometimes go out that way because it’s closer to the parking lot.”

She pulled him down a hallway that smelled like chlorine and past a large room filled with people who were twisted into human pretzels. The woman at the front of the class looked up as they passed and waved at Angie.

Angie smiled and waved back but didn’t slow down. Finally they pushed through a battered, metal door into a foul smelling alley. Angie dropped his hand and they stopped. “Now what?” Alastair asked.

She shook her head and tears started to flow down her cheeks again. “The police?”

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