Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wordzzle 76 - Is Thirteen always unlucky?
Go by the Raven's Nest and test your luck with the dos and don'ts of Wordzzling.
The Ten Word Challenge: superlative, flea market, falling leaves, disinformation, who was that masked man?, keeping kids out of trouble, I'm a believer, bonnet in the attic, staff, generation
The mini challenge: deep in the forest, government, charming, heirlooms, flabbergasted
This week's Episode: A Bumpy Road
Thomas and Jean pulled out of the parking lot and headed back towards the 405. Jean told McCool how charming the Princess had been and how glad she was that they had met as private citizens without the government officials that normally supervised royal encounters. "It just felt like two women of the same generation but different cultural backgrounds finding common ground" she said by way of explanation. "It was nice to talk to a modern Muslim woman without all the prejudice and disinformation the media likes to spread about the culture differences" she continued.
She finished by jokingly commenting that she was flabbergasted that the Princess had not once referred to her (Jean) as an infidel during the whole time they spoke together. "They're probably a lot more modern in some ways than we are baby" Thomas smiled back. "Look at the two of them; they're billionaires, philanthropists, and grandparents, all the while running around the globe starting and maintaining charitable projects and good works at an amazing pace" he added. "I bet the majority of their staff makes more than the president of the United States" he quipped. "And their new project in L.A. called "Art on the Down Low" ought to help in keeping kids out of trouble in the projects" he finished.
While Jean and Thomas had been having this lively conversation, Thomas had been keeping his eye on a black Escalade that had followed them out of the parking lot. What had started to trouble him was that every time he changed lanes the Escalade changed with him. He'd mentioned none of this to Jean as of yet. He still thought it might just be someone wanting to make good time like he was on the fairly busy Saturday night freeway. Perhaps one of the attendees at the opening was in a rush to get home and tell their kids about some heirlooms or superlative bronze statues they'd seen tonight.
Well he knew that was BS, didn't he? He reached down and snugged his seatbelt while telling Jean to do the same to hers. "Look's like we've got company and I'm thinking you might really be on to something with the Vignoire woman" he stated. "If I were them I'd make my move when we exit" he remarked. "Just bump us in the left rear quarter and send us into the wall" he finished.
The exit was coming up, but Thomas stayed one lane over towards the center. There was a good chance that whoever was following them didn't know where they were staying so his plan was to continue on down the freeway and then double back when they lost the tail. When the time came to exit he'd make a quick move from the second lane and get off the 405 before the Escalade could make the last minute turn. They'd been running 72, so Thomas slowly picked up to about 80 mph. He looked to the GPS they'd just bought at the Mesa Flea Market the week before and saw what exits were coming up. About two miles down was a nice cloverleaf he could use to get headed back in the direction of the motel.
The pursuing SUV must have suspected something because he sped up within two car lengths of the McCool's Civic and stayed in the far right lane. Thomas picked his way through the evening traffic and put some distance between the two vehicles. This forced the Escalade to move into the center lane to catch him. The exit came up quick with the little Honda doing right at 100mph. Thomas waited till the last instant then sent the car rushing up the curving exit ramp. He used the curve and the steep incline to bleed off speed and didn't touch the brakes.
The Escalade slammed on the breaks and actually backed up a hundred feet or so on the shoulder to make the turn. The Black behemoth caught the McCool's car in the center of the cloverleaf. Thomas let the driver draw a bead on him then swerved at the last minute. The SUV skidded along the concrete wall and ruined that marvelous Caddy paint job. Thomas knew he couldn't outrun the Escalade, but felt he might possibly outmaneuver it. It would be the only way to save their lives. There was now no doubt the big Caddy SUV intended to ram their car.
"Baby, I don't think these people like us" he sarcastically remarked. "I'm a believer" Jean replied. She caught a glimpse of the driver during their last miss and he seemed determined. "They look like pros from what I can tell" she commented. "Didn't see a weapon in the passenger's hand" Jean added. "Must want it to look like an accident" Thomas shot back as he downshifted into 4th and the little 4 cylinder engine hit 7000 rpm. "Now would be a good time to call 911" he continued as he swerved again to make the Escalade miss.
Jean did just that and made sure the occupants of the pursuers’ vehicle saw what she was doing. This backfired by only motivating the driver to hit their car sooner. The two vehicles exited the roundabout headed back out the 405 and Thomas up shifted into 5th at 90 mph. He could literally hear the engine screaming as he watched the TAC hit 7500 rpm, well above the little engines red line. He had speed shifted into top gear and gained a second or two on the Caddy. It was enough for him to gain a few car lengths and put some other cars in between the SUV and their car. With the 911 call in and cops on the way, the occupants of the Escalade had to know their time was running out, didn't they? It was this thought that kept him moving the little car up the freeway and away from the black SUV.
The Caddy driver was not having it though. He charged through traffic and muscled cars out his way as he moved towards Thomas and Jean. McCool watched the progress in the rear view mirror and made a decision. He went almost past the exit, then braked hard, downshifted into 4th and screamed off the 405 back onto Getty Center Drive. Only this time they were doing over 80. The sturdy little Civic made the corner and held on. Right then the Escalade charged into the exit but was carrying too much speed. It lifted off the two outside wheels and looked as though it might roll. The driver brought in back down just in time and headed straight at the McCool's Honda.
Seeing he couldn't avoid a collision, McCool braked just enough to let the oncoming Escalade slip by to the outside. There was a terrible grinding sound as the two vehicles scraped against each other and then the Escalade was by the Honda. McCool downshifted and poured on the gas. They hit the Escalade in the right rear. This pushed the Escalade past the point of stability once again and this time the driver couldn't get it back down. The huge SUV rolled over and flipped down the ramp managing to clip the front of the Civic with one tire. It was enough to put the Honda into the wall at over 70 mph. Then it all went black.
Thomas and Jean woke up in their car with the airbags deployed and feeling like they'd just been beaten up. Jean looked over at Thomas and asked "Who was that masked man". Thomas felt around his body for broken bones and missing pieces before grinning and replying. The detritus from the collision and resulting crashes continued to flutter down like falling leaves for several minutes after the incident and what he intended to say was that someone must certainly have put a bee in someone's bonnet to cause such quick and brutal attention, but it came out sorta sounding like someone had a bonnet in the attic or something.
Jean looked at him then with some concern till he grinned again and said "Well shit, they wrecked our little Honda pretty damn good didn't they?"
At this point a fireman and a paramedic helped the pair out of their car and onto the back end an ambulance. While they were being checked out the investigating officer came over and asked if they had called in on 911. "I did officer, after the SUV attempted to hit us the first time" Jean spoke up. "Well you won't be troubled with them any more tonight" he explained, "We've got one deceased and the other with serious head trauma headed to county medical with a police escort." "The SUV and the men have no papers or any forms of ID, even the plates are bogus" he finished. "Got any idea why these guys where after you?" he said as he looked at Thomas.
"We're civilian consultants investigating some murders in Laughlin, Nevada" Thomas said. "It's possible it has something to do with a missing suspect" he finished.
Thomas and Jean and the cop finished their conversation as the couple was given a clean bill of health by the medics. The air bags and luck and Thomas's driving had combined to make what looked nearly fatal into an accident from which they walked away. The just one year old Civic was another matter. It had extensive frame and body damage. The little car's useful life was at an end.
Thomas made a call on his cell for a rental, then called into Laughlin PD and reported on the accident. After that he called Sgt Johnson in D.C. and left a message.
From what he'd learned tonight there may have been something wrong with the DNA test of Charlotte Vignoire or some other issue that caused the attempt on their lives. Unless it could have been the Prince, someone on his staff or an entirely unknown person, it just didn't make sense any other way. Somewhere deep in the forest of all the clues and facts concerning this case he knew there must be some other way to link Charlotte and the killings.