General Fiction posted September 13, 2021


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A short crazy work of fiction for fun

The Gingerbread Debacle

by AliMom

Fiction Story Contest Winner 
.. And then there was the time someone dropped a gingerbread cookie in the back seat of the car.

Mom had just finished unloading the last of the grocery bags from our weekly shopping trip. We kids had already tumbled out in our usual jumble of noise, cookies, toys, books, or whatever Mom had tossed over the seat to keep us quiet and/or amused on the ride home. She figured the more stuff she tossed, the less likely she'd have to pull the car over because someone was touching someone else - a ridiculous game played by children who ride in a car too long with no air-conditioning generally ending with someone, or sometimes everyone, getting spanked. (You should try it sometime).

She helped Boo-Boo, second youngest, out of his car seat, so-called not because he was an 'oops' baby, but his diapers could drop a charging rhino at thirty paces, placed him firmly on the ground, and pointed him in the direction of the rest of us, counting on us to keep an eye on him (silly woman) as we scurried up the driveway in a tangle of arms and legs. Interestingly, he always managed to survive the ordeal so I suppose she knew what she was doing. Adrienne, the baby, she carried in her arms because as youngest, she was still too small to get involved in this rambunctious, raucous, rabble of non-stop humanity.

As she headed up the path toward the front door, my brother, Ricky, the only one of us deemed old enough to help, said, "Uh, Mom? Who's driving the car?" My mother turned to realize she'd probably left the car in neutral on our sloped driveway. There was no fear of damaging the monster tank we called a station wagon. It was old but durable and looked exactly like what it was built for, hauling children and groceries. It probably could have hit a mountain and come away unscathed. It was the rest of the neighborhood which held her concern. She'd done this gear slipping thing before (we were later to discover it was the car, not my mother so it was good to know she wasn't suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's) with near-catastrophic results. Fortunately, we had kind neighbors who seemed to understand the difficulty of unloading four children keyed up on ice cream, candy, and captivity, and a fifth screaming to be changed and fed while unloading groceries.

With baby, Adrienne, in one arm and the final grocery bag in the other, she watched in amazement as the car slowly rolled downhill toward our neighbor's mailbox.

"I'll get it!" yelled Ricky, the eldest who always thought his capability in a crisis far exceeded actuality and fancied himself something of a super-hero. He went racing toward the car.

"Ricky!! Stop!" Mom's favorite words when dealing with my older brother these days. "I'll get it. Just stay behind the fence." My sister, Valerie, and I as always, trailing behind our fearless leader, wandered toward the fence.

"Close the gate!"

All of this happened in a second or two so none of us noticed the wheels of the car glide slowly to the left carefully avoiding the neighbor's mailbox and fence. We breathed a collective whew at the lack of traffic on the street and that should have been the end of it.

Then the engine turned over.

"What,?" was all my mother managed to squeak out when the car took off down the street. Confused, mom did a mental count to make sure none of us, think Ricky, were still in the car, then she sat down perplexed on the front steps still clutching the bag and the baby.

"Grggl-bah" was baby Adrienne's reaction, a few months shy of one and not yet familiar with the nuances of the English language, she didn't have much to say. But her comment seemed to say it all.

"Ricky!!"

The sudden realization that her oldest was not still standing in the driveway as directed dawned on mom. We, kids who had been left behind, squealed and giggled with delight certain that the last thing we had seen was Ricky hanging on to the door for dear life, with one hand, and holding the foot of a gingerbread cookie with the other. Mom stared open-mouthed as her car rolled down the street, then, over at us as if we had some explanation for this strange phenomenon.

"That boy..", Mom started, as she sprang into action, heading for the house to call for assistance. Her voice had taken on that familiar deep rumble we associated with those two words.

"You two, back inside the fence".

I'll hand it to Mom. With a complete disregard for what children's social services or the police might think, she sped into action dialing everyone but the president (couldn't find his number).

We were in the yard amusing ourselves by talking Boo-Boo into eating a bug when she dashed out, the receiver still in hand, Baby Adrienne tucked under the other arm. It must have occurred to her that without Ricky, we couldn't be trusted to mind ourselves. I couldn't imagine why not. The bug was clean!

We heard the squeal of brakes and several cars rushed up at crazy angles in the driveway and on the lawn nearly colliding with mom's rose bushes. We dashed to the front door.

"Yay", yelled Boo-Boo who loved all things with sirens and flashing lights. To his delight, an ambulance and a firetruck were racing up the street, sirens blaring, lights flashing, to join the contingent on the sidewalk and in the driveway.

Everyone came running up the front path while my mother attempted to explain what had occurred in a senseless babble that rivaled baby Adrienne's. Nobody wanted to hear our theories so we crowded in front of the T.V. to watch Popeye. The phone began ringing and neighbors began darting in and out adding their own embellishments.

"Ricky stole the car."

"What?"

"Don't be ridiculous. He's only nine. He can't even reach the pedals."

"I hear he's been kidnapped by the mailman."

"No, no, he kidnapped the mailman; Something about a misplaced letter to Santa Claus."

"It was the ginger...", my sister offered, but nobody seemed to hear. So, while the grown-ups tried to sort out their truths, my siblings and I returned to Popeye and his spinach. But, before the first punch, our program was interrupted by a news flash.

"Ricky!"

Valerie yelled with delight and pointed at the television where a news reporter was in the midst of relating the latest details on the run-away vehicle terrorizing the downtown area. On-screen, mom's old car careened down the street crashing into the carts of street vendors, screeching around turns on two wheels, and generally causing mayhem and panic everywhere.

"My baby!!"  my mother cried.

"He's headed toward City Hall!" The reporter yelled excitedly. "We are advising everyone to clear the streets."

The car crested a hill and landed Steve McQueen-like sending sparks everywhere, spun around, made a sharp right, and headed for the on-ramp of the bridge. Helicopters appeared on-screen featuring Randy Guy, Your Eye in the Sky, who joined the chase while sirens blared in the background. Ricky's panic-stricken face peered above the back seat for a second and cookie crumbs littered the windshield.

"There doesn't appear to be anyone in the car!" Eye from the Sky reported.

The car veered left and sped forward, narrowly missing a traffic cop and three pedestrians. It barreled forward with all the power of a charging bull when Randy yelled, "No, no, not the skate park!!

"Skaters are rolling as fast as they can to avoid collisions. Nice flip skateboard guy. One way! One way!" he screamed excitedly.

A few skaters were clinging to the back of the vehicle, in a terrible parody of crack the whip.

"Look out! The tail end of the whip has just broken off and landed in the victory garden set up by the Ladies Auxiliary. There won't be any tea and cookies in that garden today. Sorry about that, ladies. Now the car appears to be headed towards Bob's Wax and Shine. Those skaters are going to get the wax and shine of their lives. What do you think, Fred?"

"Fred Thurgood, reporting from the studio. The police have set up a roadblock at the bottom of the bridge. All persons are advised to stay off the streets. It has been reported that a small boy may or may not be at the wheel of this vehicle. As of this broadcast, this can neither be confirmed nor... Wait! Hold on! We can see the steering wheel turning. We can see into the front windshield but we cannot see the driver. The police are ready. They're posted at the bottom of the bridge trying to figure out a way to slow him down without harming the child if there is a child. He's coming to the bottom. He's descending the ramp, but he doesn't appear to be slowing down. Whoa-oh-oh-oh! He has jumped over the waiting police cars at the bottom of the bridge. Amazing!"

"That's some driving," said the men watching the TV with obvious admiration. Mom glared at them.

"It looks like an action movie. The car has skidded over the top of the police vehicles and is headed down the street towards Pine and Roberson. Holy Cow!"

"Where'd they get that car," murmured the EMT. "I've got to get me one of those".

The car rolled up the steps of City Hall headed for the fountain out front. Water splashed everywhere as it plowed through the fountain wall. It zig-zagged and headed for the town square.

"Oh, this ought to be good," the EMT mumbled.

"Don't you have somewhere else to be?" My mother asked, eyebrows arched.

The people there hadn't been watching the news as the crowds gathered for the annual Festival of Flowers in the square. They were handily dispatched sending lovely cascades of flowers and people flying in all directions.

"Good thing we canceled the parade this year," Fred, the newscaster remarked. "There don't seem to be any casualties. When the police finally arrest him, I'd love to shake hands with the driver of that car."

"I'd love to spank his little bottom," my mother remarked.

The car slowed down a little, idling indecisively then headed for the countryside maneuvering around cow pastures and barns, rolling through meadows and streams.

"At least he's having a nice tour," my sister, Valerie said. She liked to look at the bright side of things. My siblings and I nodded in agreement.

Then the car flew over a hill toward a large dairy farm and landed in a tree, wheels spinning as if it was still on the road.

When the emergency vehicles arrived, they found my brother, eyes wide, plastered against the back seat of the car, with his nails dug in like a cat clinging to a life raft. He was all broken out in a sweat and his hair literally stood on end which is no mean feat for a curly-haired little boy. He was pale and trembling and mumbling something about gingerbread.

They helped him out of the car and then helped the car out of the tree while scouring the area for the kidnapping suspect. Much to their collective consternation, my brother kept insisting that a dropped gingerbread cookie was responsible for his wild ride. They suggested therapy.

The authorities, relieved that no one was injured, and happy to have recovered the marauding vehicle and its lucky occupant with no gunplay or loss of life made a promise to catch the miserable rat who would snatch a car with a kid in it. The chief inspector said as much in his statement to the press, munching on a gingerbread cookie he'd found in the car, having himself skipped lunch in all the excitement.



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This is a silly story from a series of tales for whimsical adults who have not stopped believing in family, fantasy, and fun. It is dedicated to my crazy family who knew how to have fun. The names haven't been changed because no one was innocent.
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