Great Aunt Shirl Is Titanium…Me Not So Much

Great Aunt Shirl Is Titanium…Me Not So Much


Great Aunt Shirl talks while she drives, which is at a snail’s pace—the driving that is. I doze in the passenger’s seat. In a town like this, I have no fear of her driving. Everyone looks out for everyone, which is why it’s a freaking fright when she slams on the brakes and I jerk forward saved by the trusty seatbelt. Unfortunately I’m now awake.

I look around and then see the black SUV that’s in front of us. Holy Crap! The pyromaniacs.

Two hulking men wearing mirrored aviator sunglasses exit the vehicle.

“What on earth,” says Great Aunt Shirl. “Those out-of-towners don’t know who they’re fooling with.”

She plunges her fist down on the horn, shifts the car into reverse, and then squeals around the SUV. She looks in the rearview and shakes her head. “Out-of-towners!”

I’m thinking: damn!

I shift in the seat and see that they’ve shaken off any shock at being out-maneuvered by a lady in her seventies and are following us. This is not lost on Great Aunt Shirl.

“Who do they think they are?” she asks, blowing a breath out of the side of her mouth that shakes a white curl on her forehead.

“They’re the guys who burned down Linc Bergstrom’s house.”

She turns her face to look at me for far too long for my comfort as she has increased speed. “Open the glove compartment.”

I do as she says and find a handgun there. I take it out and look from it to her.

“What the hell, Aunt Shirl?”

“Can you shoot, Annie? Did your Daddy teach you anything?”

I hate the cold metal in my hand. Daddy did teach me how to handle a gun. He wanted me to go hunting with him but I was a poor substitute for the son he had wanted. I hated fishing and guns, but I learned how to shoot as long as it was at a soda can or a beer bottle.

“Don’t go all soft on me, girl. They tried to kill you, didn’t they?”

I don’t nod or speak. I gulp.

The SUV is now immediately behind us. They gun their engine and rear-end us. Aunt Shirl doesn’t lose her cool. I wonder who she is. Has she been training with the CIA when none of us were looking? She slows and drifts over to the left so that the SUV comes along on the right side.

She depresses the button which lowers the passenger-side window. Crappola this is going to happen.

They pull up alongside of us and are about to ram us when I shoot the gun. It’s a rapid fire, which I wasn’t expecting, but it breaks the window glass and I think the driver is hit because suddenly the SUV is no longer beside us and Great Aunt Shirl continues to drive as if this were just a regular Sunday and she’s off to the country.

Finally. Damn out-of-towners,” she says.

Yeah, damn out-of-towners and what a family mix in my brain.


end 5/14/2017

Sascha Darlington

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