Scraping By: Part 8 (Serial Flash Fiction)

Will could feel panic rising. He tried to grab hold of the car’s door frame and brace himself, but whoever was pushing him into the passenger seat was stronger and faster. He half sat, half fell into the car. He opened his mouth to yell, but the calm voice of his attacker stopped him.

ferrari-599-interior-2“Be quiet and stay here. Don’t touch any buttons.”

The car door slammed and Will blinked. His hands were shaking and he stuffed them between his knees to steady himself. He looked out the window and caught a glimpse of his attacker right before he disappeared into the museum’s side door. He was wearing a gray suit.

A gray suit. Loafer man ducking. Will looked at the manufacturer’s emblem on the steering wheel. He was in a Ferrari.

Will unclenched his toes and breathed the new leather smell deep into his lungs. Double Oh Seven was one of the good guys. Probably.

He tried the door handle. Locked. Double Oh Seven was either a good guy or good at his job and Will was a dead man. Either way, he had to admire the guy. He was okay with losing Tish to the most famous spy in British history.

The dashboard looked like an ordinary car dashboard. Not that Will knew, specifically, what a Ferrari’s interior was supposed to look like, but he saw nothing to call his attention. The keys were in the ignition. What radio stations did a spy listen to? He pushed the button marked “radio” and the top half of the dashboard flipped, rotating on a hidden axis to reveal dozens of buttons as well as a few meter gages and blinking lights.

His cell phone buzzed in his pocket. It was another text from his dad. Enough already. Will hit reply and typed “Six o’clock fine”, then stuffed the phone back into his pocket just as the driver’s side door opened and gray wool trousers slid across the leather seat. Will clutched the door handle and hope that his blush didn’t reach his ears.

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to turn on the radio.”

The car pealed out and was cruising down a side street before Will summoned the courage to look up at the driver. The man behind the wheel was calm, focused, with a hint of a smile playing at the corner of his thin mouth. His dark hair was gelled back in perfect waves. The hint of sweat emanating from him smelled like alpha male.

coche-submarino“Is Angie okay?” Will asked.

James nodded. “She will be.”

“And the al-Qaeda guy?”

“I trussed him up like a chicken.”

He turned left twice, doubling back toward the canal a few hundred feet down from the museum. They crossed a car park.

“We’re going back to the canal?” Will felt like the little kid on a car trip who can’t stop asking questions.

“Couldn’t let the crowd out front see our cannonball.”

James gunned the motor and the Ferrari jumped the curb at the end of the car park and splashed nose first into the canal. Instead of sinking slowly, the car plunged and the interior lights came on. James hit a few buttons on the exposed dashboard and a soft whirring sound ensued. Will just stared.

James smiled. “Propellers. We’re a submarine now.” His smile disappeared. “I heard what you said before he tried to shoot you. You know where the prince is.”

“You heard…”

“I bugged the museum this morning, just in case.” The Ferrari submarine cruised smoothly through the canal about three yards below the surface. A radar screen blipped quietly and displayed oblong dark spots that Will assumed were boats.

“Okay.”

“I reviewed the recordings from the rooms you were in today. We’re headed to the blue boat now.”

“It’s been less than five minutes!”

“I work fast.”

fish canalThe car came to a stop of sorts; the slight rocking of a boat at anchor remained. Double Oh Seven pushed yet another button and something in the roof of the car began to emit a mechanical whir. Will glanced up at the roof and then out the window at a small school of fish that had come to check out the new black beast in the neighborhood.

“If I was listening, so was al-Qaeda.” James looked relaxed, but Will could feel anticipation coiled in the man like a spring.

“What I said to him was true then?” Will asked. “I really am the only one who knows where the prince is?”

Were the only one, yes.” The whirring above their heads stopped and James shifted onto his knees and grinned. “Here we go!”

He reached up with one hand and sliced a circular hole in the car’s roof with a knife. To Will’s surprise, no water entered. Will leaned his seat back so he could see through the hole. A metal shaft ten centimeters in length extended from the car’s roof to what looked like a wooden floor. Will glanced at the radar screen; one of the oblong blips was directly above them. It was the floor of a boat and if he could see color in the shadows of the tube, he would bet that boat was blue.

James pulled out a small tube, set a dial on it, and held it to the boat’s bottom all the way around the circumference of the shaft. It left a dull red line in its wake and when James had completed the circle, the wooden floor fell into the Ferrari like the stopper from a piggy bank’s belly.

James didn’t wait for faces to appear in the new opening, but stood on the center console and vaulted himself inside the house boat above.

“Hello, gentlemen. I’m Double Oh Seven.”

 

Images courtesy of: www.flickr.com (fish), www.goldcar.es (car sub), www.moibibiki.com (interior Ferrari)

Scraping By: Part 2, Take 2 (Serial Flash Fiction)

This is the revised Part 2. It’s been a couple of weeks; if you’ve forgotten what the original Part 2 said, that’s probably for the best. If you’d like to re-read Part 1, please do so.

showimageWill parked the Jaguar so that the scrape was facing the carpark’s fence. If he could get Tish to look at the car on her way to lunch, she’d only see its good side. He rounded the corner from the carpark and a steady breeze off the canal chilled his freckled oval face. The huge brick buildings of the Warehouse District stood sentinel along the edges of the canal’s harbor and a few narrow houseboats floated patiently along its sides. He headed for the squat brick rectangle that was the museum. He was ten feet from the door when someone tapped him on the shoulder from behind.

The tapper was a tourist, judging by the brand new London cap he wore and the camera hanging around his neck. He looked Indian, maybe Middle Eastern, with a dark complexion and a little grey streaking his short black hair.

“Excuse me, Sir, I’m looking for the Gloucester Waterways Museum.”

Tourist pronunciation made Will smile; they made “Glou” rhyme with “how” and said “Glow-chester”. Locals prounounced it “Glosster”. Will snapped his fingers. Lip Gloucester! That would sell well in the gift shop. He’d have to call one of those invention hotlines.

“It’s this building right here. They just opened a few minutes ago.”

“Are you an empl-”

Ferrari-laFerrari-Black-20The man stopped talking and ducked down to tie his shoe without warning. Will glanced around to see if something had startled the tourist. Other than a few birds, the only moving creature was a dark haired man in a grey suit leaving the museum and walking toward an illegally parked car. Will squinted. Only the back end of the car was showing, but it was smooth and tapered like a Ferrari. It couldn’t be…but what were the chances that two LaFerraris would be in little Gloucester on the same day?

The Ferrari pulled away and when Will turned back, the Indian man was gone. Will was barely through the museum door before Stephen the Program Director had slapped him on the back.

“Late this morning, Will.” Stephen was a decade older than Will’s twenty years and was never without a smile and a cup of tea.

“Sorry, mate, I had a chat with a copper this morning.” Will removed his hat and ran his fingers through his medium length latte colored hair. He’d need a haircut before his dinner with his father next week. He wanted to look sharp.

Stephen raised his eyebrows and blew across the top of his tea. “Hard lines?”

“Yeah, some manky SUV swiped my car this morning.” He briefly filled Stephen in on the morning’s car chase. “I was at the station for nearly an hour and the copper never wrote a word on the report. He took my paper with the license plate number, asked me where I live and where I work, and said he’d be in touch.”

“That’s odd. I thought coppers lived for paperwork.”

Will nodded and sloughed off his jacket. “He said he had to go to the scene and confirm the bullet holes before he could file.”

“Are you sure it was a good idea to inform the coppers? If this goes to court, those men with guns will know that you’re the bloke who ratted them out.” Stephen blew on his tea again and sipped loudly.

Will shrugged. In his desperation, danger had been an afterthought. “If the police find the guys, then the courts can make them pay to fix my car.”

He knew it would be months before the courts would award him damages to fix his car, but if his father held on until Christmas, he could show him the car then. In the mean time, if the cops made an arrest on Will’s tip, Will could be in the papers before the week was out. Fame was as good as fortune in the eyes of his father.

800px-Replica_Warehouse_National_Waterways_Museum,_GloucesterOut of the corner of his eye, Will saw the dark man from the street come through the museum’s front door and pick up a brochure. Will glanced at the man’s shoe, then looked again. The man was wearing loafers; there was nothing to tie. Why had he ducked down? Will lifted his gaze to the man’s face and the man looked away quickly, almost as though he’d been caught staring. Odd. The tourist recovered quickly and approached Will.

“Can you show me the cartography exhibit?” he asked.

Will smiled politely. “Let me hang my jacket and I’ll be right with you.” He didn’t relish giving a tour to a man who pretends to tie loafers. He needed to ask Tish out before he lost his nerve. Maybe he could bring her to dinner next week. The first floor of the museum was a huge open room with exhibits along every wall and grouped loosely near the center. The maps were in a back corner. The tourist moved toward them and was soon out of sight behind the replica house boat and displays of trade goods.

Will turned back to Stephen. “Is Tish here?”

Stephen began to move toward a side office. “Yeah, but you won’t like it.”

 

Images courtesy of:

wikimedia.org, soglos.com, wallruru.com