How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

What’s a Hero?

65 Comments


“Hey.”

“Hey, yourself. Where’s everybody?” Robbie rubbed his sunburned scalp.

Toe kicking dirt, pale-everywhere Jimmy heaved a skinny shoulder, then slumped. “I’m bored.”

“Let’s go swimming.”

“I hate cottage country. Can’t use my iPad.”

“Come on. We’ll round up some of the kids.”

A cement truck lumbered down the street, clouds of dust in tow. The boys sprang off the kerb and stared with mouths agape as it bounced off the kerb a foot too close. Jimmy cleared his throat first. “You see that? He almost hit us.”

“But he didn’t. Whoa. There he goes again. Something ain’t right.” Robbie looked up and down the country road. Not a soul in sight. “Come on. Let’s follow him.”

“Too hot.”

“Something’s wrong.” The bigger boy grabbed Jimmy by the wrist dragging him along, forefinger pointed forward.”

The truck ground to a halt with a screech and a lurch on the opposite side of the road, the drum still spinning.

“Come on.” Robbie let go of his friend and raced ahead. He grabbed the handrail and hauled himself onto the running board. He couldn’t reach to open the door. The driver’s face plastered the closed passenger window.

Jimmy wrung his hands. “Is he dead?”

“Shut up and let me think.” He pounded his eleven-year-old fist into his palm until his eyes protruded. A smile bloomed on his face.

“Where are you going? Don’t leave me…”

“Run to the nearest cottage and tell ‘em what’s going on. I’ll try to get inside and see if he has a cell.  Crap, no cell service here.”

“How ‘bout the CB radio?”

“Don’t know what he’s got. Go. Hurry. The other way.” He watched Jimmy change direction and ran around to the passenger side. As much as he strained, the handle was still too high. The engine growled and the drum clanged round and round. The truck cab shimmied like a nervous bride. Robbie jumped down scanning the ground. He raced to the other side and peered up. The driver’s face still decorated the window.

Sweat poured down his young face. “Aha. This’ll do fine.” He tugged and tugged. Nothing. It wouldn’t budge. “Are you kidding me?” The boy danced from one foot to the other combing the ground. He settled on two smaller rocks, which fit one in each hand. Palms down, holding them like bowling balls, he shuffled to the passenger side again. The rocks lined up side by side, Robbie sprang onto the running board, hung onto the handrail and tested his footing.

“Yes!” Chubby cheeks on fire, sweat dripped down his shirt. Nothing. “It’s locked. Are you kidding me?” He yanked and wrenched. “Open!” The door creaked and the boy scrambled to keep his balance. Using both hands and an elbow, he coaxed the rusted door wide enough to clamber up into the seat. Someone on the radio twanged a forlorn country song. He picked up the handset but it didn’t even crackle. He leaned forward and switched off the engine key. The cab stopped doing the shimmy. The cement drum creaked on.

Short of climbing into the unconscious man’s lap, Robbie braced both hands on the horn. It made a terrible noise but someone would have to hear.

A siren screamed somewhere. He peered in the side mirror. A police car and an ambulance grew larger in its reflection. Robbie scooted outside.

Jimmy jumped out of the police car. He wrung his hands like a girl. “Is he dead?”

“I don’t know, but his lips are an awful blue.”

“Step aside.” The paramedics rushed forward with a gurney.

“You did good, boys.” A policeman patted Robbie’s shoulder.

Jimmy beamed; Robbie slipped into a sitting position on the straw-like grass and stared into a void.

The policeman returned. “It appears you saved and captured a bank robber.”

“What?”

“Who steals a cement truck for a getaway car?” Robbie’s mouth dropped.” You still bored, squirt?”

Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

65 thoughts on “What’s a Hero?

  1. Tess I was on the edge of my seat through the whole post. You have such a skill of writing and so quickly creating a vision for the reader. I could see this kid immediately in my mind. ‘Toe kicking dirt, pale-everywhere Jimmy heaved a skinny shoulder’. Well done!

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  2. This is great! Not the usual ending to a familiar format. I enjoyed this immensely. Good on you!!!!!

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  3. A must read to the end and….surprise! Very good!

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  4. Loved this one, Tess! You took it in directions that zig zagged and prevented guessing! You have the most delightful picturesque vocabulary!

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  5. That was great. What a twist for an ending. I almost stopped reading after 100 words–and then figured it out. I like it when you write longer material. I get more of an idea what’s going on!

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  6. You are so good with these scenes and dialogues! Who steals a cement truck for a getaway car made me laugh. Really good! <3

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  7. great and informative – Something to learn, I appreciate it!

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  8. Shimied like a nervous bride…wonderful imagery!

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  9. Good writing lets the reader see the story in their heads. I bet your tale had lots of readers customising your words to their situations, countries and locations. It would be interesting to take a post like this and get your readers to ‘describe’ what they imagined as they read :-)

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    • Thank YOU Madoqua. We all do have pictures going through our heads when we read, don’t we.

      I try to be clear but always wonder how someone else sees a story unfold. It would be wonderful to hear.

      You know when you read a book and then go see the movie? No, you decide, they picked the wrong person for…or I didn’t picture that like… etc. <3 <3 <3

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  10. This could be part of a kid’s book. Kids love reading stuff like this. Great imagery.

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    • Thank you, Darlene. I always say I don’t know kids, and especially boys, because I had no brothers yet somehow I’m drawn to write about young boys. Maybe it’s 50/50. Haven’t paid attention.
      How about I leave the kids’ book writing in your capable hands? <3 <3 <3

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  11. What a brilliant twist :-)

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  12. Indeed! What little boy wouldn’t be excited now????????? Well done Tess! I felt like I was sitting on the ground yelling at him to keep trying!!!!

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  13. Tess this was amazing. I was there, the actions, the imagery, the dialogue and your usual quirky twist endings. Very well written Tess. <3

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  14. This was absolutely a fun read. I could see it all in my mind and loved the two bored children to death (though I thought they might need spankings).

    What a wonderful read.

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    • Thanks, Val. Glad you enjoyed this one. I don’t know anything about boys because I had no brothers but I did play with boys a couple of centuries ago.
      No WiFi in cottage country. How boring is THAT?
      BTW, our government announced they will be installing WiFi in camping areas. Ugh.

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  15. Nice ending, Tess… nice tale in fact! I so wanted the door to open you threw me completely off guard with the end. Good one!

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  16. Yes, who steals a cement truck? Loved the twist.

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  17. Ha! Oh, I never expected that ending. Good twist.

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  18. This is brilliant, Tess. Wow, exciting, it felt as though I was right there in the story! :)

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  19. Dangit, Tess! Tell me now that you have a novel in the works!

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  20. Gripping! Your writing is spry and made me feel like I had to catch my breath to keep up. Great story to arouse curiousity! Love the end! :) <3

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  21. Thief shoulda used a magic carpet escaper

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  22. Tess, the fact that you laughed as you typed this piece says a lot about your writing and why you are so good. Your on target sensory and unusual twists are definitely a win-win.

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  23. Thrilling story and a cracking end. “Who steals a cement truck” indeed? <3

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    • There are all kinds of stupid criminals, aren’t there? Why bother? I have to shake my head.
      Like trying the roof to rob a place and falling through the skylight? :-D :-D :-D
      Tripping the alarm? All stuff from the newspaper, but not the short story. I have no idea how that hatched.

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