Normal Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Normal Day

by T. F., S. Thomaston, ME

It seemed to be a normal morning for James Reed. His Alaskan husky, Fred, woke him at 6: 30 a.m. as he did every morning. James rolled out of bed that Saturday, hung over from partying the night before. He stood up and put his hands to his forehead, What happened last night? he asked himself. James stumbled into the kitchen and prepared a pot of coffee. While the coffee brewed, he went into the bathroom to take a shower. His head pounded at the noise of the shower. He let the hot, soothing water run over his body.

James went back to his room to finish dressing. He grabbed a shirt and went in the kitchen for his coffee. As he sat down to drink his coffee and read his paper, a headline caught his eye.

"Bashing Bill Bailey Escapes From Prison."

"Bailey made a daring escape last night from the Thomaston Prison, killing two guards and the laundry truck driver. Bailey stole the laundry truck and took another guard as prisoner. Bailey threatened to kill the guard if he wasn't let through the gates. He escaped heading east on Route One. Police say if anyone sees this man, do not approach him. He is armed and extremely dangerous.

"There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Anyone with information should call the State Police at (800) 555-7253 or contact your local police department.

"Bailey was serving a life sentence for the Gainsville murders committed in 1984. He is believed to be in the area of Cross County and civilians are urged to keep their doors and windows locked."

After reading the article, James began to get a little worried. He lived in Cedar County which bordered Cross County. James jumped up and checked every window and door to make sure they were locked.

As he readied himself for work he thought aloud about what he had just done. Why am I so worried? If this convict has any brains, he'll get as far away from this place as he can.

Having reassured himself, he walked to the front door and opened it. It was a beautiful summer morning with birds singing and tending to their usual business. The bright morning sun beat down onto his back and heated his dark clothes. It's going to be a hot one, he thought to himself as he casually walked down the steps and across the lawn to his car.

James owned a 1968 charcoal-gray, two-door Boss Mustang with a 302-cubic-inch motor. This car had everything - chrome Cragar super sport rims, a low-profile 60-series white lettered tires, a dual-exhaust system with hedmon headers, turbo mufflers and chrome tailpipes. The motor was souped-up with chrome valve covers, an edlebrock four-barrel intake, two-inch aluminum high-rise for the Holley 780 double pumper carburetor and bright, yellow high-performance plug wires. This car was immaculate, inside and out. It still had its original interio -plush red and black bucket seats.

James loved his car. There was never a grain of dust on the interior and he washed the outside regularly. During the winter months when the roads were salted he would park the car in a garage and buy a cheap car or truck to drive.

James disarmed the car alarm. After making sure the transmission was in neutral, he pumped the accelerator twice and pushed the starter button. The car instantly came to life and began to rock side-to-side as he revved the motor. He allowed the car to warm up for a few minutes while he listened to the news on the radio. It was another bulletin about Bailey warning citizens not to pick up strange hitchhikers and to be cautious of strangers at the door.

James released the brake and proceeded down the driveway to work. He stopped at a local store to buy some coffee. He set the brake and shifted into neutral. He left the car running and walked into the store. Tracy, the morning cashier, was nowhere to be found. James figured she was in the back room, so he made himself a cup of coffee. He set the coffee on the counter and walked around to the back room to get Tracy. He saw Tracy nervously crouching in the corner. "What's wrong, Tracy?" asked James. The words had barely left his mouth when he felt the cold steel of a gun barrel press against his left temple.

"Get in here and shut up," said a rough voice. James stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. "Go sit next to her," the voice instructed. James cautiously walked across the room, his back to the gunman. When he reached Tracy, James slowly turned around and sat down. Tracy was going into shock, tears streaming down her face. James put his arms around her and tried to comfort her. As he looked up to see who the gunman was, it was Bailey.

The gunman opened the door just enough to scan the room. He didn't see any more customers.

"What do you want with us?" James asked in a timid voice.

"You're my ticket outta here. The police won't mess with me as long as I have the two of you." Bailey paused and then spoke again. "I hear a car outside, it yours?"

James thought of how priceless his car was to him. He nodded and in a low voice said, "Yes."

"Good, you're gonna drive me outta here. We're all gonna walk out to it real peaceful like. Don't try to pull any tricks 'cause I'm not afraid to use this thing." Bailey showed them the gun and then tucked it into the waist of his pants with the handle sticking out. He pulled his shirt over the exposed portion.

James and Tracy quietly stood up and walked toward the door. Bailey poked his head out to scan the store again. He signaled his prisoners to go first. They walked cautiously toward the front door and just before they reached it, Bailey instructed them to stop. He peered out the window and saw no one.

"Is your car gray?" James nodded and Bailey continued "Okay, you two are going to sit up front and I'm going to stay down in the back seat. Now move!" Bailey gave James a push.

The trio hurried across the parking lot and flung open the car doors. Bailey dove into the back seat and James and Tracy hopped into the front.

"Do you know where Pioneer Mountain is?" Bailey asked. James nodded.

"Do you know Alden Rock Road?" James nodded again, too shocked to speak.

"Take me there and don't try any tricks, I'll be keeping a close eye on you. Let's go!" Bailey hollered.

James reversed the car onto the road. He revved the motor and jumped the clutch. The car lurched forward as the rear tires spun free from the tar. Second gear and the passengers were pinned to their seats. James hit third and still no one could move. The power of the acceleration held the riders to their seats. The speedometer read over one hundred. The car held the corners as if it were on rails. Tracy fainted from fear and slumped in her seat. Bailey had become white as a sheet. His face was blank; he was frozen with fear.

James hoped to see a police car. His erratic behavior was sure to draw attention.

"Slow down!" Bailey ordered. "Slow down or I'll shoot."

"You won't shoot me, if you do this car will crash and at this speed you couldn't possibly survive," James said.

Bailey raised his gun to fire. James jammed his foot onto the brake. The seatbelts held James and Tracy but Bailey and his gun flew forward between the bucket seats. Bailey's knees were caught on the seat backs. James grabbed the gun from his hands and threw it out the driver's window.

Bailey pulled himself upright and reached to grab James. BANG, the driver's side tires had separated from the rims, sending the car into a barrel roll. The intense G-force pulled Bailey through the rear window throwing him into a field nearby. James' head hit the steering wheel, knocking him unconscious.

James woke with Tracy lightly shaking his shoulder. "Are you okay?" James asked. Tracy nodded and wrapped her arms around him. He tried the door. It was jammed. Bringing his knees to his chest, James thrusted his feet against it and the door swung open with a loud groan.

The police arrived just as the two were emerging from the car. James told the officer the story. That was the last time Bashing Bill Bailey would ever terrorize again.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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