A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

The Free Car Ride: A Story from the Police Blotter 
by Tom Ray (Apr 2009)


It is a cold spring morning. The windows in the house are slightly ajar. The man places another blanket on his sleeping son. His wife stands at the door with her bags packed, her eyes rolling as she tries to put these last few years into perspective.

He attempts to speak to her trying to make sense of why she is leaving. She tries to leave the room to get her son, but he grabs her arm trying to get her to stay and listen. She's heard it all before; all the excuses, the apologies and the lies. Now, all she wants is her son and her freedom.

As she breaks away, she wakes her son, grabs her bag, and leaves the house into a waiting car. He stands in the driveway motionless, lifeless as his life drives away. All he is, all he stands for are leaving in that car.

He turns to go back into the house and realizes the pain is just too great to bear. The only comfort he can find is in the bottle of whiskey he has hidden from his wife.

Soon enough the bottle is empty, just like his life. He staggers outside and begins to walk aimlessly. Lost, distraught and lonely, he knows he needs to go home. He begins screaming for a cab. People passing by stop to watch the spectacle, staring at the man who seems out of control.

When the cab stops to pick up its fare, the man begins yelling at the crowd to give him some money for the cab. Over and over he yells in vain. Standing at the open door of the cab, the man feels a tap on his shoulder. Finally, someone is about to give him the money he needs to get home. As he turns to get the money, he finds himself staring into the eyes of Grass Valley's finest.

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