FULL SPEED AHEAD
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Rudy dashed across the halls of the school in pursuit of his quarry.
Full speed ahead.
A sharp pain coursed through his chest.
He hadn’t slipped, he hadn’t tripped on his own laces, and it wasn’t his usual sort of allergies or anxieties taking hold of him as was his daily lot in life. It wasn’t even a real, physically taxing sort of pain, it was an emotional flutter.
He seemed very in control at this particular moment. Something had destiny written all over it.
This was his one moment in time. His eleventh hour.
And it was going to hurt like hell.
“Don’t do it Louise” he yelled as the troublesome young Belcher darted through the halls with her brother Gene and headed towards a familiar site.
“Someone smash the monitor, we’re surfing the stairwell” Louise yelled, “A prize cash for anyone who grabs him”
That was the kind of offer that motivated every lazily minded lout hanging around their lockers, and the meatheads and jocks all headed in Rudy’s direction.
Rudy eyed up his obstacles and made contact with what wasn’t there.
Someone always had to spread their legs when forming a human barricade.
He sneered and quickly executed a baseball slide between the empty space underneath the largest jock and emerged on the other side too late to prevent Louise and Gene climbing the stairs and preparing to slide down the banister.
This time Tina wasn’t there, she was monitoring Zeke as he entertained his grandmother back at the home, making sure he came back to school afterwards.
This was all on him now, he had to look out for Tina’s sister, and he had to make his hero proud of him.
As the siblings slid down the banister, Rudy leapt in and held out his hands as the full force of Louise’s frame crashed into his body, sending both reeling backwards. Rudy stood his ground, knowing if he fell to the floor he’d look humble to the rest of the gathering student body.
Gene came down next, Rudy motioned to push Louise out of the way so he could catch him, but Louise instead gave him a commanding look. Rudy nodded, and allowed Louise to catch her brother as he dived straight into them.
“I hit a girl” yelled Gene, punching the air in triumph.
“Now that’s the sort of abuse I can take” Louise remarked, patting Gene squarely on the back.
“Alright, you two are going to detention” said Rudy, “Louise, Gene, I’m gonna have to take names”
“You know our names already, in fact you just said them” insisted an annoyed Louise.
“It’s the system” Rudy insisted.
“A system that plays down what just went up” said Gene.
“Just give me a speeding ticket and I won’t do it again” Louise replied.
“Dang, my fountain pen isn’t working” Rudy replied, he asked Louise if he could borrow hers
“No” she said
“But it’s mine, you borrowed it a week ago because you snapped your pencil trying to pull out the built-in eraser at the back of it with your teeth” said Rudy.
“I’ll give it to you if you dash through that jock’s legs again” Louise remarked, and complimented him on his speed.
“That was pretty fast” Louise said, “What do you have? God speed or something?”
Rudy couldn’t answer; he was feeling a tight and fierce compression on his chest.
This time, it definitely was the physical sort of pain. The impact of both Belchers had proven too taxing.
“Oh god, Rudy, speak to me, are you ok?” a panicked Louise asked, squeezing his right hand.
“That’s ok, I feel total and complete relief…” he said as he tried to reach into his pocket for the inhaler, Louise helping him.
“…Because you’re ok” Rudy finished, his hand steadily losing his grip on the inhaler as he took it out
Louise smiled tenderly and took the inhaler from Rudy’s weakened grip and placed it into his mouth.
“Breath deep and inhale tough guy” she said, Rudy did as instructed.
“Gene, I don’t think I want to go down that thing again, that ok?” Louise asked, learning her lesson as she bore witness to the price paid.
“I’ll fly solo, and shoot first” said Gene.
Louise soon slid something else along Rudy’s wrist,
“What’s that?” He asked
“Friendship bracelet. Tine gave me it after I helped her with her dorky scout business. You want it?”
“Why?” Rudy asked.
Louise huffed and folded her arms.
“Gee, I don’t know, maybe because you’re my buddy you dork” she said, elbowing him on the right shoulder.
“Louise, you put a hit on me” Rudy reminded her.
“And you took a hit for me, even after all that” Louise added.
“Point taken, I guess with God’s speed comes God’s mercy. Did I blaspheme? Oh no, I totally did” he said.
“You’re hell bent on going downstairs aren’t you my little cupcake?” Louise asked, gently stroking the top of Rudy’s head.
Rudy kept his thoughts of this to himself, knowing Louise would probably recoil if he said anything too soft.
Louise could tell what he was thinking, and a part of her was already kicking herself for thinking the same things in return, another part of her was urging her to speak them.
But they were kids, this was school, and there was so much more to learn.
If there ever was such a thing as divine intervention, it was making its influence known now. There would be time in the future for their little slice of heaven.
For now, both hoped the road ahead would be a hell of a crazy one to travel down.
Full speed ahead.