See Jack Hunt

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Chapter 11

Beltline Drive.

2 minutes later . . .

Trailers, semi-trailers, and pole-trailers with a gross weight of 4,500 pounds or less are exempt from brake requirements.

I’m reading about brake requirements in my yellow book, page 15-12.

Ricky’s got this half smirk on his face, probably thinking about that girl who sold me the book I don’t need.

Trailers, semi-trailers, and pole-trailers with a gross weight in excess of 4,500 pounds and which do not exceed 15,000 pounds and operated at speeds of 30 miles per hour, or less, are not required to be equipped with brakes.

I look up from my book, “Hey, can this Porsche haul a trailer?”

“I have a removable hitch,” he answers, glancing up at the rearview mirror.

The idea of a Porsche hauling a trailer leaves me conflicted. It doesn’t fit. I tell him, I thought Porsches were sports cars. Like Mercedes, or Lamborghini.

His eyes looking in the rearview, and then to the road ahead, Ricky says, “The S-U-V is the sports car of the new millennium. In the future there will only be SUVs because the roads will be in such a state of disrepair that you’ll need a truck just to get to the grocery store.”

Like in Mad Max?

Ricky nods as he glances at the rearview mirror again. We’re not going as fast as normal, and for whatever reason we’ve taken a strange course to the ALG office. Right now we’re actually heading in the wrong direction.

Under all conditions, the combination of vehicles must be capable of complying with the performance requirements. Generally, if the trailer and the combination is 3,000 pounds or less, the combination must be able to stop within 40 feet when traveling 20 miles per hour.

I look up, trying to picture the Porsche hauling a semi-trailer full of dead bodies. I’m not sure why my imaginary trailer would be filled to the brim with dead bodies, but that’s just how my mind works, lately. Walking around and communicating with the dead really messes with your neurons.

Ricky is still focused on something.

What is it? I ask.

“Oh, it’s just . . . ” he checks the side mirrors, his first, then mine. “I think we’re being followed?”

Is it a professional tail?

He looks at me, his eyes narrow and skeptical, “What would you know about tails?”

All the spy shows I watch say that there are different types of sleuth following techniques. If they sit back and just watch, most likely they’re just tailing us as a part of their job. You know, government types, cops, that kind of thing.

The really good tails, I explain, you don’t ever see them. You don’t have conversations about them because they’re seamless with the rest of the traffic. Usually done in groups of five or six cars in all different positions so that you never see the same car for too long. There’s lots of techniques.

Maybe they want us to see them? I suggest.

“Where are you getting your information, again?”

Never mind all that, I say. We need to lose him! Let’s do some hot-laps.

“Hot laps?” he asks, his face wrinkled near his eyes.

Three or four consecutive U-turns to see if they stay on us. They do that on Burn Notice.

“I’ve got a better idea,” Ricky says, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. “Hold on,” he advises, and before I can react I find myself pinned to the seat as he accelerates.

All the red and green and white lights of the evening that used to be dots and square-shaped, now they’re streaks of color. I feel like I’m in a spaceship traveling at near-light speeds. This is an SUV on steroids. A sports car on growth hormone.

And now I’m just waiting for the sound of either sirens or gunfire. One or the other must be the logical progression of this.

At the speeds we’re going, cutting in and out of traffic, getting flashes of peoples’ panicked expressions, I figure we’ll slow down to find ourselves 10 or 15 years into the future.

We make a right turn, and I get dragged toward the center console, my DMV book sliding across the dash towards Ricky. I tried to reach for it, but Einstein’s Equivalence Principle won’t allow it.

We make a hard left turn, and I’m jammed against the door, watching as my yellow book comes sliding back towards me. Einstein said that the laws of motion in an accelerated frame are equal to those in a non-accelerated frame.

Ricky glances at all the mirrors, left, right, rearview, left again. “I think we lost them.”

On a straight-away I reach for my book, and then Ricky hits the brakes without warning, hooking us onto a small through street on the right. Had I not been wearing my seatbelt I would have brained myself on the dash. Luckily all I did was taste part of my dinner again as the seatbelt pressed on my stomach and chest.

Taco Bell is not good the second time.

He pulls us into a parking lot, and we park behind a large semi-truck. He immediately kills the engine and cuts off the lights. I’m kind of nervous from the chase, but oddly, all I can think about is what kind of brakes the trailer next to us has.

That’s probably way over 15,000 pounds, I whisper.

Ricky is silent, looking around for approaching vehicles. We sit there for several minutes.

I ask him if we should call the cops or something proactive like that.

“No, Jack. No cops.” He looks around and lets out a quick sigh. “I think they were just keeping tabs on us. Would Detective Steele call the police?”

Hell no, he wouldn’t. He’d use their tactics against them.

“We’ll do that, then,” Ricky says. And I can see things being calculated behind his eyes. See, my young partner, he’s very clever. He just acts immature and silly because he’s young and uncertain about his place in life. But you can’t mistake his goofiness for lack of intelligence.

You have a plan? I ask.

“Not yet, but it’s brewing.”

We should probably assume we’re always being watched, now.

“That’s a fair assumption,” Ricky said, pulling out his cell phone, keeping it close to his chest so it doesn’t illuminate his face.

He presses the screen a few times, and I think that’s just the coolest thing ever. You just touch the screen, and stuff starts happening. Waking up in the modern era is a real shocker.

Who are you calling? I ask, reaching for my DMV book.

I know he’s got something devilishly sinister planned. Something so brilliant that even James Bond himself would have to bow to it’s ingeniousness. An idea that’s going to give us the upper hand on our anonymous pursuers.

And then Ricky slides the phone to his ear and says, “ . . . yeah, hey, I need two medium, thin crusts with pepperonis and mushrooms on each.”

Like I said, the man is gifted.

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