I was sitting at the bus stop when I noticed he had left the keys in the ignition. I don’t know what came over me, but I crossed the road, jumped in the driver’s seat, and turned on the engine. I couldn’t drive stick, so I bunny-hopped an awful lot as I took off.
Black smoke choked from the exhaust and a sweet melody came over the radio. I moved the car all but twenty metres. Parked it. Stepped out. Closed the door with the keys still stiff in the ignition and returned to the bus stop.
Ten minutes later, the man returned, groceries in arms, tapping his pockets. Then stumbled to a stop when he realised his car wasn’t where he’d parked it. He found it eventually. With the keys right where he’d left them.
I smiled as he drove away, a look on his face that said, I’m losing my mind.
Dad woulda killed me. How could I be so stupid? I whipped a U-bolt and pulled back up outside the Woolworths. This time, I took the keys with me. Idiot! Forgot the bloody hot chook.
I ran into Woolworths. Forgot my shoes.
Did I lock the car?
She was crossing the road again. This time, I had the police ready to go. Not today, sweetie.
“Babe, come check this girl out with me.” Not my best choice of words.
The girl from the bus stop ran to the ute. She opened the door. “Oh, man. She’s getting in the car again. Who is this girl?”
She reached, disappeared from view. When I saw her again, she was sliding the driver’s seat as close to the steering wheel as she could. The headrest was practically through the windshield.
Then she just got out and closed the door. Returned to the bus stop.
“Bizarre,” I said.
I couldn’t help myself. I was cackling. Tears rolling down my face.
Have you ever had the urge to just do something? Like, something society would just sucker-punch you for actually doing? Ever wanted to just find yourself in the position to chase a purse thief or feel what it’s like to punch someone in the face? The movies make it all look so glorious, and now I know why!
I just blew this guy’s mind.
He walked slowly to his car with a roast chicken crooked in his elbow, like a newborn, and stopped when he got there. Just stopped. Stared at his seat as if it were a jigsaw puzzle.
I’d never felt this much pleasure.
Goodness, it was good to feel alive for once. This world could get you down.
The man fixed his seat and drove off. My bus was coming, at last.
Goodness, it was good to feel alive.
I woulda remembered if it was me who dun it. Wouldn’t I?
I had the roast chook on the seat next to me, half thinking I better whack the seatbelt over it. Maybe that witch doctor lady was right; I needa stay off the grog for a bit.
I pulled over. Tipped out the rest of my stubby.
Asides, Dad woulda killed me if he knew I was drinking and driving his ute again.
At least I got the chook.
“You’re not going to believe what I just witnessed, babe.” She was still putting her makeup on. I don’t think she needs it. Doesn’t stop her. “I was watching this girl, from the window, run back and forth to this guy’s car and… Are you listening?”
“Yeah, yeah. He was running at her car.”
“No, no. She was running to his car. Well, anyway, I called the cops. I’ll tell you when you’re done.”
She turned to me and frowned. “Why’d you call the cops?”
“I was trying to tell you. She drove off with his car and parked it down the street. Then she just kept going back and playing with things.”
“She stole the car?”
“She stole from it?”
“No, she didn’t steal anything.”
“Then why the cops.”
“Because you can’t do stuff like that!”
“What? Pull pranks?”
Ah, heck, this’d be on my mind all night.
A nice ‘back when’ story when malicious mischief was neither, and folks had a sense of humor. Probably hard for the younger generation to get the words and the references. A time of Studebaker’s and big steel, and everyone employed, and the three martini lunch. All it needed was a pool hall and a kid with a slingshot in his back pocket.
I totally loved this story Jake. I once took a woman’s grocery cart and rearranged the items in it very neatly. She was very puzzled when she came back with a box of cereal in her hand and did not know whether or not this was her cart. So she pushed the cart and walked around with the box of cereal in her hand.
Great story. Thanks Jake.