The staccato whomp of the helicopter made the spotlight bathing Ronald bounce. Blue and red police lights danced before his eyes. Some of the flashes revealed the silhouettes in officers' hands of guns, hammers cocked, the steel cyclopean eyes staring Ronald down from the dark. To his right, in the valley, city lights shimmered in the summer night, and for a moment he felt suspended between two starry skies. It calmed him.
Parked cars sat empty to both sides, doors akimbo. The other kids cleared out when the cops showed their iron. A fat one in uniform, face flush with excitement, demanded Ronald hug the ground. Ronald stayed behind the wheel, ignoring him. He was more annoyed than intimidated. It was all so dramatic.
Maggie was still in the passenger seat, mortified, her perfume wafting on the breeze. The indignity needled him. He worked so hard for this, to woo and win her affection. She was standoffish, uncertain of his intent. It was as honorable as any young man's, intoxicated by love. When she finally came around, her father rose up to forbid it, as fathers do. It transformed them, Romeo and Juliet given flesh, until her father, in a rage, sent her away.
Ronald believed she was lost to him. When he found her again, it took forever to summon enough nerve to take her out. Now, this disaster. She would never speak to him again. He wanted to leap on the fat cop, beat the tint out of his cheeks.
Cheeks. He looked at Maggie. Red lipstick smeared onto her so-soft cheek, a gaffe born of the police surprise, taunted him. He didn't want her to face them unkempt. He wanted to fix it for her, like cleaning a smudge with spit and the pad of a thumb, as his grandmother did for him some mornings, waiting for the bus.
For her dignity, to spare her the extended embarrassment of being caught here with him, he gave in. Such was his love. She deserved to be thought better than cheap, the kind of girl who would go park in public in the dead of night. He heeded their call to lay in the dirt. Even as they twisted his arms, and tightened the handcuffs until they pinched his flesh in their teeth, he was cooperative, limp.
As they pulled him to his feet, he shuddered to see them carry in the black rubber bag, zipper open like a hungry mouth. He kicked then, kicked and thrashed and screamed Maggie's name until they slammed him once more to the ground. He tasted earth for the third time in a day.
Monsters. Devils. They were going to put her down in the dark again.
About the author:
Doug Lane lives, plays, and writes in Salem, OR. He'd tell you to visit
www.douglasjlane.com, but the place is haunted.
Free flash fiction on the first and third weeks of the month.