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One Bad Apple (from American KIDD)

The Hill

When I crested the hill I was driving up, and could look down the other side, my hopes came crumbling and crashing down. At the bottom… was a roadblock.

I stopped at the top and stared down at the officers standing behind and beside their cars. They were armed with shotguns and pistols, looking back up the hill towards me and my two friends. We sat in the middle of the road, facing them, in our battle scarred, Cougar Station wagon.

BJ turned the radio down, leaving only the sound of the idling engine. “What can we do?” she asked, her voice cracking from the tension.

“I don’t know, Billy Jean,” I replied. My heart was heavy… as my mind desperately searched for an anwer that wasn’t there. I had let my friends down. We had run for over twenty-five miles and had burned up a quarter tank of gas giving it our best shot. There wasn’t any going back the way we had came, they would be setting up a blockade behind us as well and taking to the snowy fields wasn’t an option. I, for once, was really stuck. My palms twitched with frustration as I stared down the long sloping two-lane black top, at the waiting men below.

There were only a couple of cars that made up the roadblock at the bottom of the hill. I suspected, that we had them spread pretty thin from the long chase, with the majority behind us. The two cop cars below were staggered one behind the other, sitting sideways in the road. They were blocking it, pretty effectively.

We were all looking down the slope, the seconds ticking by like hours. The heated air was thick coming out of the vents, bringing with it the smell of the overworked engine and hot rubber from the tires. Terry seemed to sense my thoughts, “Are you going to run it, Jimmy?” He asked.

That’s exactly what I was thinking, but I knew it was going to be real dangerous. I tend to turn a little Kama Kasei when I’m up against the wall, but did I have the right to take my friends down with me?

“Do you all want to get out?” I asked them.

BJ grabbed my hand off the steering wheel and squeezed it. “Not on your life, I’m going with you, even if it means…” she let her words trail off. Still squeezing my hand, Billy Jean looked down the hill again and I could see the moisture gathering in her eyes. I think she became my first love at that moment. Definitely the closest thing I’d ever come to it.

Terry was leaning up, still staring down at the waiting, armed officers, “You’re not leaving me out in the cold. I’m with you ’til the end.”

“Okay,” I replied. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I couldn’t sit there any longer. “Let’s do this,” I said.

I was just setting my nerve for what was coming, when Billy Jean grabbed my head in her hands and kissed me. “I think I love you, Jimmy Maxwell,” she said. I could feel her anxiety through her trembling fingers.

At any other time, Terry would have had something slick to say, but the tension was just way too high. My mind already locked into another gear, I couldn’t even respond, but I thought… ‘I think I love you too, Billy Jean. I hope I don’t get you killed.’ Out loud, I said: “Put on your seatbelts.”

When they had, I gripped the steering wheel tightly and turned all my focus on the situation at the bottom of the hill. I could hear my own pulse pounding in my ears — I pressed down on the gas.

It was strange how clearly I was able to see that day; even from a third of a mile away I could make out the officers’ expressions. There were three of them, all wearing different shades of nervousness on their faces. However, I only seemed to be focused on the one who was standing right behind the first car, in the middle of the road. He had raised his shotgun three-quarters of the way to his shoulder, when he saw us start rolling and building up speed toward them. I could see him steeling himself for what was to come, as he tried to ascertain what my intentions might be. I know this guy, I thought. I know this look. It was the same that I had on my face.

The other two officers, one with a shotgun and one with a handgun, both stood back and to the side. I could tell they were ready to get out of the way depending on what I decided to do. But, the county sheriff behind the front car… stood stone still, then raised his gun the rest of the way to his shoulder, as my car picked up speed coming directly at him.

I had seen a lot of movies where Burt Reynolds or someone like him would run through roadblocks, hitting and knocking cars out of the way. But if I hit this guy’s car, it was going to hit him. The officer behind the car started shaking, as I gained speed, but stood his ground. I knew by the set of his jaw that he would be there way too long to get out of the way. He was as dumb as I was.

I looked at the shoulders of the road, maybe I could take us down the ditch and back up again. I was cultivating this thought when the clock ran out… Shit! — he’s going to shoot!


I saw the muzzle flash and the officer jerk back from the kick as he fired. I felt the impact…

Copyright 2013 JS.Maxwell

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