The Devil Drives A Ferrari

    John Rimes watched the blue Chrysler sedan pull into his driveway.  'Nice car' he thought to himself.  His wife Ruth was just walking into the living room and also noticed the car.  
    "Who could that be?" she asked him.
    "Beats me.  Whoever it is drives a nice car."
    Ruth went over to the window to see if she recognized the people who were getting out of the car.  They appeared to be in their late forties and by the looks of their clothes money wasn't any problem for them.
    "They're coming to the door," she told John.  "The house isn't clean enough for company."
    "I hope they're not some religious nuts," he responded.
    They both looked at each other for a moment until the door bell sounded.  "You answer it," Ruth said.
    "Me?"  I never laid eyes on them before.  They must be here to see you."
    "Just answer the door.  They won't bite you."
    "What if they do?" he asked, laughing.
    As soon as John opened the door the man introduced himself.  "Good afternoon.  We are Frank and Marie Boxer.  I'm sorry to bother you but we were wondering if you knew anything about the house for sale just down the road?"
    "You mean the McCullum place?  We're actually neighbors although their place is bigger than ours."  By this time Ruth was standing next to her husband.  She returned Marie's smile.
    "Are you folks interested in buying it?" she asked somewhat apprehensively.
    "I believe the name on the listing was McCullum," Frank Boxer answered John's question.  "And yes," he said looking at Ruth, "we are interested in it.  Obviously we have to look around inside and make sure it's what we are looking for but the setting is exactly what we had in mind."
    "Are you folks from around here?" John asked.
    "We're from Colorado.  My company is transferring me out here so we need to find a house rather quickly."
    "Why don't you come in?" Ruth asked.  "Would you care for some coffee?"
    "That would be very nice but we wouldn't want to trouble you," Marie said.
    "It'll be no trouble at all," Ruth said as she stepped out of the way.  "Nothing worse than house hunting."
    When the Boxers were seated, John asked, "Didn't the Realtor tell you about it?"
    "Not really.  And besides, I don't trust Realtors.  Most of them will lie through their teeth."
    "Which version do you want?" John asked.
    "Which version?" Marie said, somewhat startled.
    "There's two sides to the story," Ruth said as she came back in the room with the coffee.
    "You can have the hard facts or you can have Oscar McCullum's story."
    "Oh boy," Frank said.  "Which one is the best?"
    "Oscar's, by far," chinned in Ruth.  "You've never heard anything like it."
    "Okay," Frank said scrunching up his face.
    John and Ruth looked at each other for a moment.  "You tell it," she finally said.    
    "Oscar was, shall we say, the neighborhood grump.  Every road has to have at least one and he fit the bill perfectly.  Anyway, there was a low slung black sports car that buzzed down our road every morning about five o'clock."
    "According to Oscar," interrupted Ruth.
    "Nobody else ever saw it," John said, his voice indicating he was speaking about a nut case.  "As you already know, the road takes a ninety degree turn right in front of McCullum's property.  The sports car would rap out his exhaust pipes as he came down that stretch of road just before the turn and then hit the brakes as he went into the turn.
    "Oscar claimed the noise woke him up every morning.  Well, one morning two winters ago, he did something about it.  He waited for a freezing night and then went out there around 4 a.m. and poured water all over the road."
    "Is that legal?" Marie asked.
    "He didn't care," Ruth added.  "I think he just wanted to scare the driver."
    "Oscar goes back into the house and waits.  Around five he hears a car coming.  He got a little worried because it didn't sound like the sports car.  He goes running outside to try and warn the driver.  I guess he got to thinking about the ramifications of his act.
    "Just as he gets outside, the driver slams on the brakes and immediately goes into a slide.  He was going so fast that he never had a chance once he hit the ice."
    "Was he hurt?" asked Marie.
    "He completely missed the turn and his car went flying.  Before he could stop it, the thing was wrapped around that big maple tree you can see across the road from Oscar's.  It's the only one there.  A few feet either way and he would have been all right."
    "I gather he was killed," Frank said.
    "Deader than a door nail."
    "This is were it gets interesting," interrupted Ruth.
    "There's more?" asked Frank.
    "Oscar stood there for several minutes not believing what he had done.  Then, are you ready for this?  The black sports car comes down the road.  And stops by where the car went airborne."
    "Before you go on, tell them about Morgan," Ruth said.
    "Morgan was Oscar's son.  He was, shall we say, wild.  He was no kid, either.  I think he was 32 years old.  He had a small place down the road about a mile."
    "He was a party animal," interrupted Ruth.  "Chased anything in a skirt."
    "Oscar loved that boy but never could see his faults.  Anyway, back to the story.  So Oscar is still standing outside.  I'm sure he wanted to kill the guy in the sports car by this time.  All of a sudden, the passenger door of the sports car opens.  Oscar couldn't see the driver because there was no dome light.
    "Oscar almost fills his britches..."    
    "John!" Ruth says, surprised.
    "That's what he told me later.  Anyway, then the driver's door on the wreck opens.  A man steps out and not one bit hurt.  He walks over to the sports car and gets in.  Just before he reached the car Oscar could see the man's  face."  John hesitated for a moment for the affect.  "The man getting into the sports car was Morgan McCullum, Oscar's son.  For some reason, Oscar could see his face clear as a bell.  Morgan did not look happy but he got into the car anyway.  Almost as if he had no choice.
    "As soon as the door is closed, the driver rolls down his window enough for Oscar to see his face.  He looks right at Oscar and nods his head.  Here again you have to realize it was still dark outside."
    "Who was he?" asked Marie, sitting on the edge of her seat.
    "According to Oscar, it was Satan himself driving that car.  He had come to collect Morgan because Hell sure was where Morgan would be going if he was to die.  Which is exactly what he did, of course.
    "Once he had collected himself Oscar ran over to the wrecked car.  The door was partially open and he was able to pry it the rest of the way.  Inside, dead of course, was Morgan.  He had been at some late night party in town and was on his way home.  It was reported later he had been about six sheets to the wind when he left the party.
    "Before Oscar could even think straight, Barbara McCullum was standing next to him looking into the car."
    "Oh no," Marie said, putting her hand over her mouth.
    "What did she do?" asked Frank.
    "She didn't say a word.  She didn't scream or anything.  She looked at Oscar with hate in her eyes.  You see, she knew exactly what he had done.  They had argued about it before he did it.  She turned around and walked back into the house.  Oscar followed her but there was nothing he could do.  When she had been standing there looking at the body of her dead son, she checked out.  Mentally, I mean.  She went over the edge and never came back."
    "Where is she now?"
    "State mental hospital," added Ruth.  "We went to see her once but she just sits in her chair and stares off into space.  Or somewhere.  She has no expression on her face.  It's a blank slate."
    "Oh, the poor dear," Marie said.
    "There's more," added Ruth.
    "How can there be?" asked Frank, surprised.
    "According to Oscar,"
    "Him again," interrupted Marie.
    "According to him," John said with a slight smile, "it was Barbara who put him up to it.  That's what they had fought about.  He didn't want to do it but she did.  The car apparently was waking her up also and she had had it.  Oscar knew it was the wrong thing to do but she said she would do it if he didn't."
    "Do you think that's true?"
    "Yep," John answered.  "They did hypnosis on him and he said the exact same thing.  When all the facts came out, it was actually her who had tormented him all the years.  She was why he was so mean."
    "What happened to him?"
    "I'm surprised you didn't read about it in the newspaper.  He was found guilty of manslaughter.  They gave him eight to ten years in the state pen."
    "When the judge handed down the sentence," Ruth added, "he started laughing.  He was actually glad because this way he never had to see Barbara."
    "I'm no doctor but I think the whole thing knocked a few bricks out of his chimney, also.
    "Well," Frank said standing up, "it's not like somebody died in the house but I think we'll pass on this one.  I'd think about it every time a car came down the road.  How about you, Marie?"
    "Oh, yes.  That brown house we looked at earlier is looking better by the minute.  Thank you so much," she said to both John and Ruth, "for the coffee and the story."
    When the Boxer's car pulled out of the drive way, Ruth hugged her husband.  "You think they believed it?" she asked.
    "Why shouldn't they?"
    "That part about the devil's sports car kills me.  I almost laugh every time you tell it."
    "As long as nobody buys the house, we can keep farming his land and nobody will be the wiser."
    "Somebody will eventually figure it out, don't you think?" Ruth asked.  "I mean, how long can we go on like this.  We pay his bills with his debit card and he has plenty of money in the bank but won't somebody eventually come looking for him?"
    "I don't see why they would. He has no family left.  I'm sure he would have told us if he had.  "We just need two more years and the extra profits from not having to pay rent on the land will pay off our place.  I just wish it didn't involve killing them."
    "We didn't have anything to do with her death.  She went and died all by herself.  And you know as well as I do that he wanted to die.  He was old, John and very lonesome.  We just helped him along a bit.  Besides, he didn't feel a thing.  He never tasted the poison.  You know as well as I we couldn't let him sell the place.  You can see that, can't you?"
    "I guess.  It's just he was such a nice guy.  I think we should call the Realtor and cancel the listing.  One of these days somebody will come along who really wants to buy the place, someone who doesn't care about ghosts."
    "Oscur was the one who listed it.  Do you think the Realtor would believe you?" she asked.
    "I'll just tell them I'm Morgan."
    "You don't think anybody will find out that Morgan died ten years ago?"
    "Have you ever looked up something like that?"
    "No, I guess not.  You do what you think best.  I'm going to check the mail," she told him heading for the front door.  
    Ruth was expecting the letter in her rural mailbox from her sister.  She tore it open and started to read it as she recrossed the street.  John later doubted she ever knew the black Ferrari was hurtling down the road.  He was still in the living room and heard the thud of the car hitting his wife.  He ran outside and saw the Ferrari back up, running over the body again.   
    When John stepped out onto the front porch it was as if his feet were made of lead. He couldn't move much past the door.  He could only stand and watch in total disbelief when he saw his wife stand up.  She didn't even look at him as she climbed into the black Ferrari.  The anguished look on her face said it all.  The driver rolled down his window and spoke to John.  "I don't have room this trip," he called out, "but I'll be back for you."

copyright 2007
Paidra Delayno

LoneStar   LoneStar wrote
on 5/27/2008 6:13:09 AM
I read your short story some weeks ago but am only commenting now. It was intriguing and held my attention throughout. The opening could hint more at trouble/conflict or be darker/ominous. On my first reading the conclusion wasn't clear to me. But I think its a clever way to end the story. Good luck with publishing it.

penni d   penni d wrote
on 4/22/2008 11:02:30 PM
I loved it, Paidra. can't wait until you post some of your other stuff. will we see "Professional Woman" on this site?? :)

justwrite   justwrite wrote
on 4/21/2008 9:55:45 AM
Great story of 'justice will prevail'. I loved it! Well-written and intrigueing. I love these kind of turn-about stories.

danicpa68   danicpa68 wrote
on 4/20/2008 7:06:48 AM
Oh my this was excellent. It goes to show how our minds can actually predetermine our futures...if you believe in that sort of thing.

Dakota1955   Dakota1955 wrote
on 4/20/2008 1:49:05 AM
This is a great story Paidra!

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