Chapter 23: Stop!

Author: Andrew Keaton
Date: 21st October 1997

This chapter is dedicated to the memory of Dodi al Fayed.

"Where did you learn to drive?"

"Dunno."

"Did you get your license in a CoverGirl packet?"

"Nuh."

"Well, where did you learn to drive?"

Erica was getting rather sick of Trudee's nagging. So sick, in fact, that she was wondering whether saving her life was worth it.

Flying up the Pacific Highway, Trudee's silver BMW continued the grand tradition of German engineering. Fast, comfortable, built like a tank. Erica didn't give a toss about this, though; she had never taken an interest in cars and, until earlier that morning, hadn't actually driven one since her trip to Thailand a couple of years back.

That was a close one, too, and although she walked away with more than enough money to buy several silver BMWs, Erica had learned the lessons Cosmo taught her: conspicuous consumption was out in the 90's , cocooning was in. Cocooning, Erica assumed, was increasing you consumption of Vitamin K, proving that in some things at least, she was way ahead, and in others, she was a complete idiot. Trudee had worked that out a long time ago.

"The royal jelly thing was just an excuse, Ezza," Trudee said.

"Mmmmwhat?"

"ROYAL JELLY AN EXCUSE!"

"What!"

"The royal jelly was just an excuse!"

"No! what I meant was . . . "

Budda budda budda budda.

The BMW flipped, pirouetting like a steel whale suspended in the breeze before crashing to earth, rolling and coming to a stop in a cloud of dust and steam."

Heat haze wafted over the road, a mirage over a black man made desert. The silence was suddenly broken by a whip-snap as a seatbelt was released and Erica dropped to the ground from the rolled car. Shaking herself down, she looked at the road and then walked around to the upside down passenger door. Bullet holes scored the side of the car, a red paint swathe bisecting the panel. Erica had no idea how long she had been out, and Trudee was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly it hit her, her knees gave out and she crumpled beside the car. For the first time in years, Erica wept.

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