Just Once - Page 1

The engine of the battered Chevy pickup protested with a sound like profound indigestion as it was forced to travel down the Interstate at a speed that was not, strictly speaking, legal. The color of the truck had once been “fire red,” but now, thanks to rust and dirt, it was closer to the color of “dying ember,” and both its speed and its very existence anywhere but as a fading speck in his review mirror was an affront to the driver of a true “fire red” Mustang roaring up the road behind the truck.

The immaculate sports car was just getting into position to pass the old truck, the car's engine purring easily the entire time, when, without warning, the Chevy swerved into the passing lane, forcing the Mustang's driver to slam on his breaks to avoid a collision and, worst of all from the driver's point of view, making him in some immeasurable way, later in arriving to his destination than he would have been otherwise.

He could not allow such an insult to stand unanswered!

Once the Chevy had repositioned itself back into its original lane, the Mustang, its engine snarling, practically flew past the truck with ease, but the Mustang's snarls were nothing compared to the obscenities and invectives shouted by the driver out the window as he passed. The shouts were heartfelt, if somewhat incoherent, and seemed to center around the theme of “stupid rednecks,” with as much variety and originality as the driver could provide.

Which wasn't much.

And while the Chevy's driver and his passenger did admittedly bear a superficial resemblance to the Mustang driver's attempt at stereotyping, dressed as the were in traditional mixes of worn denim, cotton, and leather, the conversation they were having was anything but stereotypical, and had nothing to do at all with Mustang drivers with anger issues.

“Prithee, lords, ladies . . . and lords who wish they were ladies, lend me your ears!” the Chevy's driver, the younger and darker one of the pair, was saying with grand flourish.

“You want me to hit you again, don't you?” his fairer passenger asked him with a weary sigh.

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