The Man’s lights tempted epilepsy as they bounced off the buildings and our eyes on the once quietly-profitable night. As Brown Beverly thundered through the burnout street we knew the crackdown had begun.
Treev kept a keen eye on the road as he threw his paper hat out the window and tore the magnetic ice-cream sign off the side of his door.
“I told you it wouldn’t work!” I yelled over the blaring sirens of the cop car and jingling bell music of Brown Beverly’s stereo.
“Of course it worked,” Treev replied, watching the rear-view mirror; “it worked for a good half-hour or so.”
I turned in my seat to scan the back window and was nearly blinded with dazzling lights of whites and blues in every sort of flashing and blinking pattern. “I’m not sure that’s a good measure of success,” I replied.
“Well how was I supposed to know some fatty kid would turn rat on us? What’re they doing out this time of day anyway? Where’re their parents?”
The crackdown by the Prohibition Police had begun in earnest when the mayor’s son bought a nicotine product that was not even of the quality reserved for enemies or informers, and was forced to spend his entire horrible spring break sick and in bed.
Naturally the Pro-Po assumed that Treev had sold him the offending sin stick–an assumption that would have been obvious if it was true.
When we reached Stronghold Bergstrom Way, Treev violently jerked the wheel and with a loud rubber squeal we turned onto the street, which was packed with the usual mob of dead ends and wasted gestations. These were the lost souls that even Pathetic forgot and had nothing better to do on a Tuesday night but aimlessly wander the streets like scattered trash blown about by the breeze of human existence.
“I dunno,” I yelled over to Treev, grabbing my armrest and listening to loud-speakered commands to pull over, “maybe he just wants to buy some ice-cream.”
“Ditch it!” was all Treev replied, motioning first to the back seat and then out the window to the stumbling horde of hopelessness.
I turned again in my seat and grabbed fistfuls of sin stick packs, tossing them out the window onto the street, watching our profits get taken away in the winds of our desperation.
It was then that something began to happen.
I’m not sure if it was the blaring of the bell music or the lights and the sirens or the tossing of tempting treats, but something was knocked loose in the addled cobwebs of the mass’s mind and the people on the sidewalk started to act as if we were the lone members of a parade of some sick holiday long forgotten. Like a seeping sludge wave, closer the people edged towards our car, hands outstretched and clapping. Faces that just minutes before had been caked in despair were now washed clean by grinning and laughing.
There were more than a few thumps on the car as some wandered too close to our impromptu parade. “By Svenpooly, these freaks are worse than the Feral Deer!” Treev exclaimed while trying to keep control of Brown Beverly.
I turned and watched with relief as the distance between us and the police car increased. The crowd had completely surrounded the blaring light show, slapping dirty hands and bearing rotten teeth into the cruiser’s helpless windows. Handicapped by compassion for his fellow man, the poor Pro-Po had to stop his pursuit, left mired in a mass of confused jubilation.
When it became clear that we would be safe, Treev eased off Brown Beverly’s suicidal speed, and as we watched the lights quietly die in the mirrors we exhaled in our sweat-sodden seats.
Treev dug around between our seats, found a cigarette and lit it before turning off the music. The silence of the road prevailed as we took a right onto the Frey-Weichel Bridge, heading home after another long night of working.