Shelia flipped the radio on, trying to get her mind off of the Caddy. Instantly Bon Jovi was hollering, “…It’s my life and it’s now or never. I ain’t gonna’ live forever…”. Shelia sang it right back at him. She loved Bon Jovi. She loved that song. It reminded her of a time when her life really was hers. It hadn’t been for quite some time. Now her life belonged mostly to Mark and the kids. She didn’t have any regrets, but there definitely was a big part of her that missed the person she used to be. The person she was before she became just another working mom. Bon Jovi was still hollering at her, but she wasn’t really paying attention to him anymore.
Shelia pulled off on to the Capitol exit. She had gotten so lost in her thoughts that when she checked her mirror again, she was surprised to see the black Caddy was right behind her. She was so wrapped up that she had forgotten it was back there. It wasn’t three cars back anymore though. It was right behind her, and following a bit too close. She passed her turn on 124th and kept heading west on Capitol. The Caddy had made that turn with her every morning that week, but this time it followed her straight.
“Okay Shelia, where the hell are you going?” She said just as she realized that she was chewing on the pinky nail of her left hand. A nervous habit from when she was young, she had given that up years ago. Mark was always on her case about it.
“Hey honey, if you’re hungry I can make you something. You don’t have to eat your hand.” That’s what he would say when he’d catch her chewing on her nails. Oh well, he wasn’t around and that Caddy had her nervous.
Shelia kept an eye on the rear-view as she changed lanes. The Caddy wasn’t trying to appear inconspicuous anymore. It was obviously following her. She couldn’t get a good look at the driver and the car didn’t have a front plate. ‘What the hell do you want? Where the hell am I going?’ She decided to try and lose the Caddy. The little engine in the big silver minivan whined its disapproval as she buried the gas pedal into the floor. The Caddy gave chase immediately, swallowing up the little bit of distance Shelia had managed to put between them.
Shelia quickly realized that there was no way she was losing the big Caddy. The little four popper in the van was no match for the power plant that Caddy's big hood concealed. She banked a hard right from the center lane, smoke and squealing tires. ‘Mario Andretti, the soccer mom,’ she thought. If she hadn’t felt like she was running for her life she might have chuckled. It didn’t seem so funny as the big van leaned far to the left, dangerously close to rolling over. She managed to keep her cool and stay on the road as it curved ahead of her. She didn’t have any idea where she was going, lost in one of those subdivisions where the roads cross twenty six times and they all seem to lead to nowhere. The Caddy hadn’t been able to make the Grand Prix worthy turn with her and was nowhere in sight. Confident that she had lost the big Caddy, she tried to get her wits back about her and find a way out of the suburban maze she was lost in.
She turned right and then left, eighty-six roads to nowhere. How the hell do these people find their homes at the end of the day? She couldn’t tell if the houses were all beginning to look the same or if she was passing the same houses again and again. It was like a bad episode of “The Twilight Zone”, trapped in subdivision that had an abundance of roads that all led back to where they began. Maybe it was a sub dimension. This time she chuckled.
Finally, she pulled over to get her bearings. Lucy Lane, Deborah Way, all of the streets carried common women’s names. What happen to Lincoln or Main? Maybe she was in hell. Maybe she’d spend eternity driving in circles, stuck in a subdivision that was probably only one hundred feet from a busy road and civilization. She decided to try another left turn. What’s the difference? As soon as she made it around the corner, she saw the black Caddy heading right for her. It was so close that she barely had time to react. She cranked the wheel to the right but the Caddy clipped her rear quarter panel and sent her careening up onto the sidewalk. She smacked her head against her side window as she bounced up onto the curb with her van’s tail end threatening to spin around in front of her. The pounding of her heart against her chest reverberated through her whole body like the bass at a rock concert. Her knuckles were quickly turning white from the grip she had on the steering wheel. She didn’t even notice the pain in her fingers. Instincts took over as she got on the gas again and managed to straighten the big minivan out.
Shelia’s head was a little cloudy from being slammed around, not so much that she didn’t see the little boy riding his tricycle down the same sidewalk she was flying down though. He couldn’t have been more than three years old, curly blond hair. Where the hell were his parents? She cranked the wheel to the left and flew back over the curb into the road. Three seconds later and she would’ve splattered that curly haired little cutey all over the sidewalk. “Damn it,” she shouted. “What the hell did I do to deserve this?”
She didn't get a chance to turn and look for the Caddy again before it slammed into her rear end. This time she spun out of control. Her foot instinctively nailed the gas pedal to the floor, but that only served to slam her head on into a giant oak tree on the other side of the street. Her head hit the headrest first and then the air bag. Little white dots danced all about before her eyes as a purple haze began crowding her vision. She laid her head down on the steering wheel. Her whole world was spinning as her stomach threatened to violently spew its contents all over the upholstery that had just been cleaned.
The sound of squealing tires helped her focus return. They were coming back for more. Shelia kept her head down and feigned unconsciousness, not that she was far from it. Just keep driving. Just keep driving. It did. The Caddy crept by and Shelia kept her head down until it was passed. Once it was, she picked her head up ever so slightly and peered over the steering wheel. The car wore Wisconsin plates, “VNY HRT”. ‘What the hell does that mean?’ Whatever it meant, she knew the owner was an amateur. She was still alive.