So, I intended to post this yesterday, but it took longer than I’d hoped to put together. Hope you enjoy and a giant thanks to SGD Singh for all of her help. (I’ll be reviewing her book, Emergence, at the end of the month, it’s a great read so far! Check it out HERE.)
The prompt was used more for inspiration than a guideline this time. Combo prompt from Daily Flash Fiction Prompts on FB for 6/9/2016: All dialog no tags or exposition. The first line is: “That’s it. The old man has gone too far this time!”
“Okay… I …finally got the …weed killer from the neighbor.” Charlie bent over and placed his hands on his aching knees as he skidded to a stop; sweat dripped from his forehead. He reached into the back pocket of his cargo shorts and took a long swig of his water bottle. “Now I know why Mom never weeds this jungle she calls a yard…” He trailed off, realizing his brother was no longer putting a fresh coat of paint on the shutters of their parent’s house—they had dulled considerably over the past twenty years since his father built them. Instead, Louis stood open-mouthed in front of the wide open—empty— garage. “What the hell? Louis, why is the garage open? And where’s your—?”
“That’s it!” Louis snapped, whirling around and hurling the paint-stained cloth to the concrete. “I can’t do it anymore, Charlie! Forgetting the day or time is one thing, but my bike? The old man has gone too far this time! When mom asked me to watch him for a few days, I didn’t think she meant—I mean, I didn’t know he’d… Lost his mind already!”
Oh, shit! Charlie’s eyes widened and he raced toward the house, flinging the front door open. “Dad! Dad, are you in here?” No answer. Crap. He tore through the rooms, but Walter Thompson was nowhere in sight.
“Damnit, Louis, what did you do?” he seethed, stomping back outside.
“It’s not what I did, Charlie. You’re the one who showed him how to run the motorcycle! I told you it wasn’t a good idea to let him near that thing! Mom’s going to freak when she finds out! Why do you always have to be so reckless?”
“Me? Showing him the bike and giving him the keys are not the same thing, dumbass! I thought you lawyerly types were supposed to be smarter than that! How could you let him go AWOL in ten minutes? Why didn’t you chase after him? The car’s right there!”
“I would’ve if you’d remembered to fill the thing last time you used it! I tried to gun it and could barely make it out of the neighborhood before I had to turn around or risk going on empty. And I didn’t give him the keys, he took them.”
“Took them? But… I thought they were in your pocket.”
Louis grimaced and nodded. “They were… In my jeans pocket. I left them in the guest room when I changed into these shorts so–”
“Great!” Charlie spun on his heel, his eyes darting up and down the rode for any sign of his wayward father. “Where do you think he went?”
Louis sighed. “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell for sure, but you know how loud he likes to watch T.V., and I think I heard something about a road racing competition…”
Charlie choked and splattered the remains of his water bottle all over the sidewalk. “You don’t think he would try to sign up… Would he? I mean, just because he won that race when he was a kid… Mom would kill us if she came back from taking care of Aunt Rosa to find him on the back of a Harley again!”
“Mmm,” Louis murmured, pressing his lips together and giving Charlie a grim nod. “I know she would. But… You have to admit…. It’s a possibility.”
“It is. A damn good one.” He huffed, a scowl chiseling it’s way onto his features. “What are we waiting for? How are we going to catch up to him?”
Louis pondered that as he paced the length of the driveway. No car, no bike… “Wait a minute!” He sprinted around the back of the house, Charlie following at his heels.
“Lou, what are you thinking?”
His younger brother ignored the panicked scepticism in his voice, rushing to the old shed nestled in the corner of the yard under a towering oak tree.
“Where did he put that…?”
Louis dug his fingers into the underbrush of the nearby bush, fishing for the spare key their father always kept. “Found it!” He jimmied the small teeth into the hole and the rusted lock released it’s hold with a satisfying click. Louis let it drop to the ground and shoved all of his weight into the door, stumbling as it gave way.
“You alright?” Charlie asked, lunging forward to catch him by the arm.
Louis clenched his teeth and bit back a curse. “Fine. Now, let’s just hope….” He pulled the string and let the lone light bulb illuminate the room. Standing in the center of the shed, in all it’s glory, surrounded by endless shelves of trophies and ribbons, was Walter’s old road racing motorcycle.
“Yes!” Louis cheered, clapping his brother on the back and knocking the wind out of him in his excitement. “We’re saved!”
Charlie glared at him and rubbed his sore shoulder.
Louis dropped the kickstand and gently maneuvered it into the yard. He swiped the keys from the worktable and a satisfying purr soon filled the air.
“You couldn’t have thought of that fifteen minutes ago?”