Oh Leo!

Contributor: Jennifer McBroom

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Elsa leaps and lets out a peep of a squeal only loud enough to share with herself as she exits the Department of Public Safety, a shiny piece of colorful plastic in hand. She skips to the pale blue coupe that awaits her, engine still running, ready to go for a ride.
Elsa drops into the driver’s seat and soaks in the moment, reading aloud the words along the top of the card, “Texas Driver License.” Sixteen today, the green-eyed, curly- headed brunette glances over to the passenger seat and shoots a look at her burly, broad- shouldered jock of an older brother sporting a grin from ear to ear. Elsa knows that look. She knows it means he is up to no good.
“I know what you’re thinking Leo! It’s not gonna happen! No way, no how!”
“Just this one time Elsa......please? We don’t have to tell mom. Come on, it’s your big sixteen!”
“I love that YOU have to beg ME now, since this is my car and I’M driving.”
She brandishes her newly attained license a little too close to Leo’s face and with the same mischievous grin, Elsa throws the shifter in reverse, narrowly missing an elderly couple walking behind her car, and speeds out of the parking lot. As the two are blasting the Foo Fighters on the tuner and blazing down the freeway, distracted by their karaoke concert they are carrying on with, Elsa fails to notice the sea of red lights in the short distance ahead. In somewhat of a panic, she slams on her brakes, skidding down her lane. Smoke engulfs the car when a loud pop rings out and their four-wheeled friend begins to limp desperately.
“Get over Elsa! Move to the shoulder! Hurry! We’re gonna miss the damn game if I don’t get your tire changed!”
“I’m moving Leo! Jesus.......quit yelling at me! I’ve never done this stuff before, in case you have forgotten!”
Finally making it over to the shoulder, Leo leaps out of the passenger door with the tire iron in hand before “Old Blue” even comes to a dead rest. He fights for a minute to get the lug nuts loose enough, and then changes the tire like he’s going out for a Nascar pit crew. Fifteen minutes later, he springs back into his seat and slams the door.
“Go Elsa! What the hell are you waiting for?”
“Leo!.....stop yelling at me! You’re making me crazy!”
“If you don’t go now Elsa, we’ll be late and get crappy seats, if we get any seats at all!”
Elsa growls at Leo then steps on the accelerator a little too hard and her car leaps into the lane cutting off a redneck in a bright red, over-sized pick-up with a rebel flag painted on the rear window and a loaded gun rack hanging inside. The resounding trumpet from the monstrosity makes the two of them damn near jump out of their skin. Elsa weaves in and out of the traffic doing what she can to garner some distance between them and the cursing cowboy yelling obscenities out of his window. Once she can no longer see his pumping fist in her rearview mirror, her and Leo can breathe again.
Their excitement peaks as they finally approach their destination. The interstate rounding the coliseum is teeming with vehicles behaving like school-aged children cutting in the cafeteria line. Finally inside the event parking lot, Elsa whips around from row to row scanning for any empty space she can find.
“Right there, Elsa. Pull into that spot right there!.........Go, go, go...now!”
“I’m going, Leo, geez! So bossy.”
She whips into the space and they bail out of the car, almost leaving it running. It is a competition between the two to get to the ticket booth, tripping over their own hooves.
“Two general admission seats, please.” As Elsa turns to Leo, “Give me some money.”
“Why am I paying?”
“Because I got to the booth first......AND it’s my birthday......remember?”
Like children, they have a quick exchange of sticking their tongues out and making faces at each other.
Popcorn and soda in hand, the two find their seats and get comfortable, anxiously awaiting the puck drop. The thrill in the air is building and insanity strikes when the players begin skating out onto the rink. Heckling commences instantly, and it isn’t long into the first period before Elsa is heading back to concessions for more popcorn since most of theirs found its final resting place on the floor at the foot of the plexiglass walls aligning the rink.
Eight boxes of popcorn later (between the both of them), three appearances on the jumbotron, a fisticuff with the referee (Leo almost getting ejected from the stands) and a winning score for their team of 4-1, it has been a bonding afternoon of celebration. After a couple high-fives with some of the team members, they push their way through the masses to flee the sportsplex.
“What a Gongshow! Leo.......you’re like the chillest big bro to ever live!”
“Anything for my baby sis on her big sixteenth. Our little secret, yea?”
Leo wraps his arm around Elsa’s shoulder as they laugh and joke through the parking lot to their space in section H4. But on approach, the space in section H4 is bare. Confused, the two look around, chase the empty air in circles then gaze at each other in horror. Breathing heavily, Elsa doubles over and starts freaking out then looks up at Leo who’s leaned himself against a concrete light pole as he heaves in oxygen.
“My car! I’ve had my freaking license to drive for like four hours! What the hell! Well Leo, Mom’s gonna know now!”

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I am a recent BS Film grad from Full Sail University (after spending 18 years in the insurance industry), and am currently pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing. A born and raised Texan, I currently reside with my husband and two dogs in the Austin area.
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