(Part One of this short story can be found here: Girl Outside)
The sound of the dragon wagon's engine blended with Lou Reed's voice as they headed up Wallace Road together. Edgar reached up and adjusted the rear view mirror as several cars whizzed by in the other lane.
"Hot damn, the whole world is passing me on the right," he said as a few more cars raced by. He snubbed what was left of the joint into a small aluminum can placed inside one of the cup holders, "So hey, you never did tell me your name."
She was looking out the window, her mind moving through the trees at 55 mph, her heart beating a bit faster and giggling inside her chest. "Mandy. My name is Mandy," she replied, "and that's some really good weed you got there." Edgar nodded and smiled as her attention returned to the passing view outside. "You know, up until a year ago I never even smoked weed before. Never drank either, or did any kind of drugs whatsoever. I was pretty straight-laced, a real square. I suppose that's why it came as quite a shock when my face appeared on national news that night."
Edgar leaned forward and lowered the volume of the music to a faint whisper as Mandy continued, "In high school I ran track, second fastest on the whole team, but my passion was soccer. I was the captain of the team and had a full scholarship to WOU because of it. It wasn't like I was unaccustomed to being on the news, I had appeared in the paper numerous times for various sport and academic related accolades. My parents were so proud of me and the entire community supported me all the way. And then... everything went to shit."
She rolled her window down halfway, and with a loud hacking sound cleared her throat and spit a loogie into the street. The air rushed in and blew hair into her face, and she casually brushed it aside and returned the window to its up position. "And when I say it went to shit, I mean IT WENT ALL TO SHIT."
Edgar flicked on his left blinker and moved into the turning lane. After waiting for several cars to pass by he whipped into a nearby church parking lot. The entire lot was lit up by dozens of light poles, each connected by a cable with colorful triangle-shaped streamers hanging along their lengths. A gigantic sign facing the main road read: FAMILY FUN NIGHT. There was a drove of people on the far end nearest the church building, all gathered around something of interest, but it was unclear as to what. There were more people grouped together on the opposite side where a section of the parking lot had been mapped out with spare tires and hay bales forming a race track in which go-karts were currently zipping their way through. The whining sound of small horsepower engines filled the air and further added to the excitement of family fun night.
With the car still idling Edgar turned towards Mandy and said, "Listen, before you finish your story I'd like for you to join me in something special. I promise it'll be an invigorating release of stress and that you'll be glad you said yes. What do you say?"
Her eyes nervously scanned the parking lot as she answered, "I dunno, man, I really don't like church people very much. This is a very unfair thing to dump on someone you just met without knowing how they feel about it."
Edgar replied, "No, no, I promise that what we're about to do has nothing to do with these peoples' religion or their god or the church that they keep that god locked up in. If you look over there, beyond that mob of humanity, you can see a spray painted van with a clown juggling on its roof." Edgar motioned with his hand. "Do you see it?
"Yeah, I see it" she remarked.
"Okay, well right next to that van is what we're here for, and I promise you it's not a sermon. It's way more elevating and spirit-lifting than that, I assure you. You down?" he asked.
"Yeah, okay... I'm down."
Edgar slowly drove through the packed parking lot and made his way toward the juggling clown. Next to him was a small rectangular area cordoned off by thick bull rope attached to waist-high metal poles. A large tarp had been laid down over the asphalt within and people were standing all around excitedly. To the left a large stage had been erected and a Christian band was playing their music. Edgar stopped the car and told Mandy to sit tight for a minute, hopped out and walked over to talk to a man holding a baseball bat. Soon after, he was back in the car and the man with the bat repositioned a pole and motioned for them to drive into the roped area.
"This is going to be awesome," Edgar said to her. He then reached into the glove compartment and retrieved a video camera and the title to the car. He grabbed a CD case off the console, the roach from the cup holder, and the brown paper bag he got at the Whiskey Mart and exited the car. She did the same and followed him out into the crowd. Teenagers were now pushing their way to where the man with the bat stood as he began speaking into a cordless microphone.
"Test.. test... this working? Can everyone hear me out there?" The roar of the crowd answered in confirmation as he continued. "Alright boys and girls, this is what you've all been waiting for! Our gracious Lord has provided us with another vehicle this year. The automobile seen before you represents the sin in your life, the negative influence Satan has in your day to day. Well we're gonna stand up to Satan tonight! We're gonna smash out his windows and mirrors, we're gonna dent up his body the same way he does to ours! One-by-one we're gonna expel him from our lives tonight with this here baseball bat... now, who wants the first crack?"
The energy and excitement grew enormously as dozens of kids edged closer to the scene of vehicular destruction. Edgar flipped open his video camera and turned it around to record himself as he spoke, "It's Monday night, March 22. Tonight marks the death of the dragon wagon, baby, at the hand of god's misguided children. It was a wild ride for the both of us, but that chapter is over now. Here marks the beginning of something new." He turned the camera back around and started recording as the first kid climbed up onto the hood with bat in hand and swung with everything he had. The windshield cracked upon impact and a spiderweb of white squiggly lines splayed out in every direction as he held the bat high above his head in victory.
The bat was handed from one kid to the next as the dragon wagon slowly transformed into a mutated representation of its former self. Glass sprayed out onto the ground, smooth metal was dented in, paint chips and dragon scales fell away and decorated the tarp like 4th of July parade confetti. Edgar looked over at Mandy and said, "You should go beat the hell out of it too, you know it'll feel great. Just imagine that you're still telling your story, and whack it with everything you've got."
A smile crept across her face as she nodded in acknowledgment and made her way towards what was left of the dragon wagon. Moments later, with the baseball bat poised high above her head, she turned and looked directly at Edgar's video camera and yelled, "Desperta ferro!" before swinging with all of her might, delivering a crushing blow that completely blew out the rear passenger side window. Edgar smiled, flipped the camera closed, and walked away.
TO BE CONTINUED... (Part Three, Click Here)