Take A Drive

Contributor: Jesse Campen

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As a retired man, the thought of stealing someone’s car never even occurred to me. That is, until the doctors said that I only had six months to live. Since then, I’ve taken walks every day just to take the suburban neighborhood in. Five and a half month’s later, I was there, in the suited man’s sixties hot-rod.

Nearly every day I took a walk, I saw it parked just a few blocks between my place and Shining Grove Hospital. The suited man always had a dark, strictly business style about him. To be honest, I was always looking at his car more than him. It was sleek, black, and souped up. It roared louder than a panther, and went from zero to sixty in less time than it’d take you to say “black mamba.” I’m not exaggerating when I say I was actually scared of it at first, but when I had three months, I realized something about the car.

One time, when I took a glance into it, I saw that all the doors were unlocked. Not only that, but the man left the keys in the ignition every time. I never knew why he would do that, but it bugged me.

Could I take it for a short drive around the block without him noticing? I began thinking with every passing day.

My conscience always told me that I couldn’t. Even before I was diagnosed with cancer, my license was revoked.

The thoughts became even stronger.

Do it! I’d tell myself.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

The doctor gave you two weeks to live. What have you got to lose, anyways?

Then one day, after the dark suited man had went into his house, I ran back a block to his car. Quickly, I grabbed the ice-cold silver handle to the car and pushed the button to release the door. I threw the door open, and sat myself in the car. After I shut the door, a shiver ran up my spine from the chilling air that filled the car.

A feeling of worriedness filled my mind just being in there, but soon I grabbed my wits, and turned the keys to the ignition. Just as before, it revved louder than a thousand wolves howling at the moon. If the suited man didn’t know someone was going to steal his car before that day, he knew now.

Rolling the window down to let the warm afternoon breeze in, I shot five blocks ahead before both of my hands were on the wheel. I can say that it was the first time a natural smile came to my face in half a year. I was laughing out loud. Cackling like a hyena on rollerblades as I flew by Shining Grove Hospital, the place I was born.

I placed my right hand down to the stick and shifted gears. I felt so glad that I had made the right choice, even if I was scared at first. Coming up was Shining Grove Elementary, my stomping grounds. All of the children stared at me as they shuffled out of the school.

“Have a good day, kids!” I shouted as I waved out the window.

Most of the kids stopped to wave, with big smiles on their faces. I couldn’t help but feel that some of them looked familiar.

I rushed past more places: My high school, my college, the church my wife and I were married in. Eventually, I raced past my old veterinary practice on the edge of the city, Shining Grove Animal Care.

My assistant who died a year before I retired is standing there. She smiles wide and waves. All of the animals that passed away that I knew are there too. It filled me with joy to finally see all of them again.

Now, the sun is at the edge of the horizon as I drive through rolling farmland. Dogs, cats, and animals of all kinds ran at my side and played in the fields, filling the air with their voices. Even though the sun was going down, the light seemed to have become brighter and brighter with time. Joyful, nostalgic tears came to my eyes as the light immersed me and the car drove me slowly into the roads of the afterlife.

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Jesse James Campen is a working student from Maryland, and likes to write specifically to entertain. He is currently attending Full Sail University to get his Creative Writing For Entertainment BFA. Jesse likes story telling in all forms, including stories from video games and themed music albums.
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