Car Jack: A Short Story For Friends and Family

*****Of all my mother's short stories, this is one of my favorites, and highlights the importance of our view of the world.

Car Jack: a Short City-Drama in the Vernacular
  
It was supposed to be a “lark”, a “caper”; like something from a late night movie.  We were just going to “borrow” a car, ride around for a couple of hours, then go back home.  But here we are, and here we’re supposed to stay.

            We had gone to a shopping center.  A strip mall of clothing shops, fast food joints, and a health-food store.  Rummy had the idea, and like dopes, we went along with it.  He was the one who supplied the joints. He was the one who hyped us up.  He should be here with us now, not safely out of it.

            We saw this little old lady coming from the mall exit.  She wore a dark coat, hat, gloves, and carried a shopping bag.  Fumbling through her purse for her keys, she wasn’t paying attention to anything or anybody else as she went up to the old station wagon.  She seemed kind of dazed when Rummy poked her in the back and demanded the keys, and told her to “stand still.”  Then real strange like, she smiled, and did what he said.  She even handed over the shopping bag without being told.  Rummy got behind the wheel and tossed the bag into the back.  Boots and I piled in.  We all laughed!  What a jolt!  We actually got away with it!  Rummy peeled out of the parking lot.  When we looked back, she was just standing there, clutching her big old purse.  We were so hyped up with getting the keys, and the wagon, and the way she just handed over the bag, we forgot to grab her purse.  What dopes!
            We hit the super and decided to head out to the fireworks show at a celebration called Oktoberfest.  Nobody questioned us when we bought beer.  We stood around; drank; watched the show; laughed a lot.  What a blast—till we got back to the wagon.  State cops were everywhere!  This shouldn’t have happened!  We were just having fun!

            They took us to the County Jail.  Wouldn’t let us phone or anything.  Rummy freaked!  He bolted from the cops and ran from the building.  There was a shot!  We found out later, that’s all it took.  One shot and Rummy was dead.  It was justified, they said.  Boots and I were “processed” and charged as accessories—on Murder One.

            There was a body under a blanket in the back of the wagon.  A bloody knife, wrapped in paper towels, was in the shopping bag.  Rummy’s prints were on the bag and traces of blood were on his sleeve.

            How were we to know?  You can’t trust anybody these days.  Not even sweet, little old ladies! 
Mrs. Libby Horning 

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