Zing, Queen of Quick in: Westward, Ho! (Chapter 3)
- 'Kansas City must have the best steaks in the world!' Aleny thought as she pulled back onto the highway. She'd had steak and eggs for breakfast, steak and fries for lunch, steak and baked potato for dinner. She'd have been stuffed and pretty much unable to move if she'd been anyone else, but with her adjustable metabolism, she'd run it all off easily. She would definitely be returning here someday, soon!
Yesterday she'd noticed a slight shimmy in the steering wheel - something was wrong with the front end suspension. She figured it had something to do with the spin she'd taken a couple of days ago, but it didn't feel like anything major; she'd have it looked at the next time she found herself near a Studebaker dealer, likely in Denver. But she didn't get that far. She'd reached the Rockies, and the road was starting to climb. She was driving through a deep pass, when suddenly a rock crashed down the cliff beside her and into the road in front of her. With her heightened reflexes she was able to yank the wheel to the left to avoid it, but the left front wheel smashed into another rock that had fallen earlier, and whatever had been wobbling, broke. She had already slammed on the brakes, and she gutted it out until the car spun to a halt - again.
Aleny got out and started swearing; the front end of the car listed towards the left, and the front left wheel was leaning at a crazy angle. She couldn't leave the car in the middle of the fast lane, so she started it again and inched it off the road, wincing in sympathetic pain as the left front tire wheel shredded against the fender. She was growing attached to this car, and it hurt her to see and hear this new damage.
"This frippin' trip must be frappin' jinxed! Am I in a disaster movie or is this 'Candid Camera'?" she yelled at the top of her voice, and listened angrily as the echoes died away. She screamed out her entire vocabulary of curse words for the next 5 minutes, pausing occasionally to listen to the echoes. 'I'm starting to repeat herself' she finally thought with a laugh. She'd never cut loose like that before. 'Won't do any good to stand around screaming any longer. There's things I've got to do' she reminded herself. 'Though it did feel good!'
She had seen enough Highway Patrol cars on this leg of the drive to be sure one would come past by and by; so she would have help soon if she just waited. But she couldn't take the chance that they'd find 2 million in the trunk. A little super friction heating, and she was able to pry the trunk open again, but the latch was now mangled beyond repair. She carried the cash bags down the bank of the river that ran to the left of the highway. She found a large pile of brush washed up against the bank near a sharp bend, and she buried the cases in the pile. It was a decent temporary hiding place. She returned to the car, and settled back to wait.
About 45 minutes later, a Highway Patrol cruiser pulled up behind her car. The cops were sympathetic, and promised to take her to someone who could help her, but they were vague and secretive about who it would be. She sensed some kind of private joke, but she went along with it A few minutes later, they passed City Limits sign for the small city of Benington, Colorado, and the patrol car pulled up to a BLACKSMITH?!
"Don't worry, Miss" the sergeant chuckled. "Wayland Steele's also the best mechanic for miles around." His partner snickered 'the only one for miles around' but they both ignored him. "Around here, see, it's a mite different than what you big city folks are used to. Folks are still as likely as not to get around on their horses as in a car. Cheaper, more reliable, and a durn sight better in the snow!" He smiled. "Int'restin' his name is Steele, him being a blacksmith an all, isn't it? If he can't get the car fixed, nobody can. Probably can point you to a place to stay, too." He hopped out of the patrol car, opened the rear door for her. "If you have any problems at all, you just call Highway Patrol Post 37 and ask for Sergeant Lester - that's me!"
Ironic that a cop would be sweet on her, she thought. "Thanks, guys, I should be OK from here." She waved as they left, and walked into the smithy. It was hot, probably close to a hundred, but since she had gained her powers, heat no longer bothered her much. A big man dressed in black leather was pounding away at a glowing iron bar; she was amazed at his strength and skill as he quickly and easily formed it into a horseshoe, then quenched it in a tub of oil. He finally noticed her, put down his tools and removed his mask. He was an imposing man, with wide shoulders and a narrow waist, muscular arms, and a handsome face, a twinkle in his dark eyes, a big smile, and white-blond hair in a short flat-topped crew cut.
'Looks a lot like Bud Barcley, but with white hair' she thought. Bud Barcley was a famous pilot, explorer and adventurer on her own Earth.
"Hey, pretty lady, c'mon in here, it's a lot cooler" he walked through a door, waving her to follow. "Welcome to the House of Steele - what can I do for you?" The room she stepped into gave her more confidence that he could fix her car; a large, cool garage with several bays, a lift and auto mechanic's equipment scattered throughout. "Smithy, auto mechanic, small engine repairs, and a tip-top machine shop" he continued. "Whatever you need, I oughta be able to fix you right up!" He certainly didn't lack for confidence! She was happy to hear that confidence; she'd liked her poor, damaged Studebaker Commander and wanted to have it fixed up right..
"The Highway Patrol says you can fix cars, I need you to fix mine." She told him about her crash.
"So, I'll take the wrecker up to the highway and tow your her back here to see what she needs. Wanna ride along?" Of course she did; she needed to make sure he didn't do any exploring down on the river bank!
- I'll be back to Zing soon. I needed to do some fill ins around some of my older stories to make them all work together. Zing is on the road right now, somewhere between Denver and Las Vegas, but she'll definitely get to Vegas.
--- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "drivtaan" <drivtaan@...> wrote:
> Playing catch up again. I really enjoyed Zing's whirlwind romance, as well as Wayland's origin. Hope to see them both again.