Get Out of Smyrna
Short Story Day 61 of 365
The teen drove slowly through the strip mall parking lot in a large white Buick with his window wide open. The Rolling Stones were blaring from his stereo.
“Get out of Smyrna,” he yelled in a screechy voice. There was no way it could be his everyday voice. He enunciated each word for clarity and emphasis. Then he silenced The Stones.
He inched his car forward another thirty yards and yelled it again, “Get out of Smyrna!” Same voice. Same clarity.
And yet a fourth time.
As a city, Smyrna is about as American as apple pie and baseball itself. Very little crime. Consistent State championships for high school sports. Soccer mom suburb about 30 miles from the City. Affluence dripped from the city. Zero homelessness.
As he drove over the crosswalk in front of the mall’s anchor store, he stopped and put the car into Park.
He got out. The yeller was tall and thin, and had long curly black hair, and wasn’t a day over 18.
He cupped his hands, and yelled towards the parking lot in that same high pitched voice, “Get out of Smyrna!” He turned 90 degrees and yelled it again into a different part of the parking lot.
Doomsday Man got back into his car and lapped the parking lot again at 2 mph.
What drove this kid? What was he thinking? Was he about ready to do something that would make national news? He didn’t seem like the type, but who does?
He could be joy riding and messing with people’s heads. Who does that, especially with people becoming overly excited and unhinged about violence?
I’m an amateur sleuth. Or maybe I’m just the nosy type. This story had to have an ending; I needed to know it. So I jumped in my truck and followed him.
I tried not to be too obvious, but only a few cars were on the road and he was going the speed limit. When he pulled into the fast food restaurant parking lot two miles from the strip mall, he jumped out of his car and ran to high five some of his friends with a tiny dash cam in his hands.
They gathered around him as he showed them the video from the camera. I rolled past his car and noticed he had an empty dash cam holder on his dashboard.
Then it all began to clear up for me. It was a prank or maybe a dare. He went to the strip mall parking lot, captured it all on his dash cam, and now he and his friends were viewing it. Presumably they would soon be uploading the video to the internet for the world to see.
As I turned back onto the street, I saw a small convoy of emergency and police vehicles pass by. The vehicles slowed down. From my rearview mirror, I saw them turn into the restaurant parking lot. I counted seven vehicles with blue and red lights flashing wildly, but they made no noise.
I didn’t stick around for the aftermath this time because it involved the law, but the authorities must not have thought it was a well-played gag after all.
Even if he was totally innocent, Doomsday Man’s day was about to get a bit more complicated.
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