Just Once - Page 4

“But,” Caleb began, looking uncommonly serious for him. “Why are you having me drive you to the airport to see a princess from some rinky-dink country that I've never even heard of?” he asked.

“Because my battery died and I needed a ride,” Art answered with a much more pleasant grin than his previous one.

Caleb shot his brother an annoyed look. “Seriously, Art.”

Art sat silently for a moment, and Caleb tried not to notice just how . . . sad and tired his brother looked. “Seriously,” Art answered at last. “You wouldn't believe me if I told you.”

“Hey,” Caleb protested softly, looking more than a tad hurt. “Art, I'm your brother! I may not be as smart as you, but I'm smart enough to see that something is bothering the hell out of you.”

“You mean besides you?” Art asked with a chuckle.

“Yes, besides me!” Caleb retorted with a grin. “I can tell this is serious, and I know you don't think I can do serious, but . . .” Caleb trailed off as he noticed that up ahead a Georgia Highway Patrol officer had pulled over the red Mustang that passed the truck earlier. Caleb's grin got bigger as he told his brother to “Hang on just a moment.”

Art rolled his eyes as Caleb double checked the road behind him was clear enough to slow down and pull over next to the stopped vehicle. Rolling down the window, Caleb leaned out with a idiotic expression on his face and leered, “Gol-lee, officer, I sure as shootin' am glad ya pulled over this guy. He pert near runned me off the road a ways back!”

The officer looked uncertain what to do with Caleb's words, but the Mustang's driver face went a decided shade of purple, his anger momentarily choking off his voice.

Caleb put that moment to good use. “Alabama Shakespeare Festival rules, you puerile varlet!” he shouted, flashed the driver a horn-like hand sign recognized by heavy metal fans the world over as meaning “rock on,” then burned some rubber off his truck's tires to get back up to Interstate speeds before traffic caught up with him, leaving behind one (fortunately for Caleb) amused officer, and one Mustang driver now literally choking from fury.

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