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     Driver Ed

       Eric Howling / Mystery & Detective
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Driver Ed

Driver Ed

Learning to drive can be a wild ride.

Copyright ? 2017 Eric Howling

ISBN 978-0-9959065-0-1 (epub)

Also by Eric Howling


Gang Tackle

Head Hunter

Red Zone Rivals

Hoop Magic

Kayak Combat


Chapter One

This could be trouble.
I had just started my Friday afternoon shift and stood slouching behind the cash register watching three of the most popular kids at Midtown High file into the store. They were on a mission to find snacks and I knew that even the likes of Trey Redmond, Jerry Fishburn and Katrina Kapoor could track them down. You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to find snacks at 7-Eleven-they were in every aisle.
"Over here!" Trey called out, excited by his discovery. "I knew we could find them."
Trey was square-jawed, square-shouldered and the quarterback of the Midtown Mustangs football team. His dad owned the local Ford dealership and gave his son a big weekly allowance, not to mention a new car. Everybody wanted to be his friend.
Jerry grabbed some Doritos and grinned. "I could eat a whole bag of these."
His real name was Jerry but everyone called him Fish which was no surprise given his last name and round bulging eyes. His claim to fame was being Trey's wingman. Everywhere that Trey went, Fish swam right along beside him. He was a smooth talker and would set up Trey with jokes and punch lines so that he looked good in front of his classmates-mainly the girls. Fish was small as a guppy with a few red zits peppering his oily face but Trey didn't mind because it made him look bigger, stronger and better looking.
"This party's going to rock," Katrina said, big brown eyes lighting up her face.
There were always a lot of house parties in September after kids came back from vacation. Everyone wanted to find out what kind of summer jobs people had, how dark their tans were and how much taller they had grown. Even I had shot up two inches which I didn't even need. I was already over six feet and skinny as a rake.
Katrina liked to play the party girl and go by the name Kat, but I thought she was a lot smarter than she let on. She was always getting higher marks than me in our grade-eleven math class. Plus, she was a reporter for the online school newspaper, the Midtown Weekly. The purple streak running through her black spiked hair and the small butterfly tattoo on her neck made her seem tough but to me it was all just an act.
A mountain of bags spilled out of their arms and on to the counter in front of me. Potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, pretzels, Reese's Pieces, two boxes of Oreos and a giant package of red Twizzlers. Jumbo bottles of Coke and Sprite quickly followed.
"Ring'em up, Eddy boy," Trey said.
"And make it fast," Fish added. "We've got a party to get ready for."
"Paaarteeee!" Kat said, waving her forefinger and pinky in my face.
"Sounds like fun," I said, trying to be friendly like Bruno, the store manager, wanted us to be with our customers.
Trey nodded. "It's going to be a blast but don't get any ideas about going, Eddy boy."
"Yeah, this party is invite only." Fish pounded fists with Trey to let me know how exclusive the list was.
"I have to work late tonight, anyway," I said, scanning the bar code on a bag of Lay's chips. I didn't really have to work late but I needed a quick excuse for not being able to go.
Kat tilted her head and eyed me up and down. "Maybe Ed could come by after he's finished."
"Don't make me laugh," Trey said, making a face. "First, take a look at our clothes."
Trey, Fish and Kat checked each other out and gave thumbs up. As usual all three were dressed in the coolest shirts, jeans and kicks. I knew they spent a lot of time shopping at the mall. I didn't care much about clothes but maybe that was because I didn't have much money to spend in the first place. And what money I did manage to save from ringing up snacks and Slurpees here at 7-Eleven I spent on computer driving games like Need For Speed and Grand Theft Auto.
Trey flicked his chin at me and continued, "Now take a look at his clothes."
"No one at our party is going to be wearing a bright red and green shirt," Fish said.
Trey smirked. "He looks like something you'd hang on your Christmas tree."
Fish nodded. "Yeah, a tall and skinny candy cane."
Trey and Fish bumped knuckles again to congratulate each other on their hilarity.
"Well, it was just an idea," Kat said, glancing at me before quickly looking away. "He doesn't seem so bad to me."
I finished packing the snacks and drinks and pushed four heaving bags across the counter.
Trey pulled a set of car keys out of his jeans and jangled them in front of me. "Let's roll."
"To the party mobile," Kat said, flashing her perfect smile.
"Hey Eddy boy, what kind of wheels do you have?" Fish asked, struggling to pick up all the bags that Trey had left for him.
I knew Fish was making fun of me and I took my time answering. "I don't have-"
"Wait, don't tell me." Fish snickered. "I forgot your wheels are attached to a lamo bike, not a car."
I took a deep breath and let out a long sigh, relieved the three party-pals were headed for the exit. Trey pushed through the glass door first and kept right on walking. Jerk. That left Kat to hold the door open for Fish who was hauling all four bags like a loaded up mule. He lugged the packages into the parking lot and put them in the trunk of Trey's brand new red Mustang. Everyone at school knew Trey had the car custom painted to match the fire-engine red of the Mustangs' uniforms.
Fish slammed the trunk and slid into the back seat. Kat hopped in the front beside Trey who checked his sunglasses in the rear-view mirror before pushing the ignition button. I heard the powerful engine growl and watched as they pulled away, laughter flying out the open windows.
Chapter Two

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