Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Chase


He was running pretty fast. But so was I. Since Jess left I’ve had lots of spare time to catch up on exercise.  He was way ahead, but not for long. 

The problem wasn’t so much his speed, but his direction. He turned the corner and was running down Mount Pleasant straight for Eglinton. There was an eastbound streetcar waiting there with its front door wide open. 

The driver rang last-call on the car’s gong to round up stranglers before he left. 

Maybe his speed was a problem. I was starting to lag. And pant. Maybe eating donuts while exercising wasn’t such a good idea after all.

He poured on the gas for the last few feet and leapt onboard the idling streetcar just as the doors were closing. The car majestically pulled away, insulting my exercise regime by flashing its ParticipAction ad card.

A maintenance shorty pulled up on the rails right behind the streetcar to take its place at the intersection. The light was red. The shorty was stopped. Maybe I did have a chance.

I got to the shorty’s door just as the light was turning green. I hammered on the door with my fist as it slowly pulled forward. I kept hammering. Finally it stopped and the doors snapped open.

“What the hell’s going on!” yelled the driver.

I flashed my ID card and jumped on, “Follow that car!” I looked down Eglinton and pointed to the departing streetcar.

“What?”

“Just do it!” I shoved my ID into his face, just inches from his eyes.

“Ok, you’re the boss.”

He stomped the accelerator.  I stumbled backward. He chuckled. 

We picked up speed.

The car was only a couple blocks ahead. Still in sight. And he hadn’t gotten off. 

“Won’t this thing go any faster? Shift over to the express track.”

“That’s not for maintenance cars.”

“Do it anyway!”

After half a block, the driver switched the shorty over to the express track and pushed the speed lever forward. Surprisingly the shorty seemed to double its speed. The streetcar was now almost out of sight and lost in the gathering traffic. 

But the gap started to narrow.

The streetcar was approaching a stop and slowing.

“Slow down!” I cried.

“Fast. Slow. Make up yer mind.”

We slowed, they slowed, we slowed some more.

The streetcar stopped and he got off.

We drifted by. 

“Stop!”

“Fer chrissakes.”  The driver mashed the brake.

We stopped almost on the spot. Good thing I was holding onto a pole, but it felt like the deceleration was going to rip my arm out of my shoulder.

The driver opened the doors. I ran out. Jumped over the half-wall separating the express track from the mainline and tried not to lose sight of him in the crowd. 

He wasn’t running, just walking and merging with the flow of pedestrians. He thought he’d escaped. I followed him, trying to stay out of his view, mingling and moving. I got closer. He had to stop to side-step a mother and stroller coming in the opposite direction. That was my chance. I caught up, veered a little to the side of him, and pushed the muzzle of my gun, still concealed in my coat pocket, into the small of his back.

“Don’t move.”  I cautioned.

He did. He started to run. He knew I wouldn’t shoot in a crowd. 

He didn’t know I knew he knew, so I also knew to trip him.

The next instalment can be found here.

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