Snakes and Pills

101 - shotgun

This was a mistake, Gregg knew for sure. Even a child of his age could now understand. His youthful innocence had put him into this situation in the first place, but now he realized what a mess he was tangled up in.

"What's your name, son?" the police officer called out over the bullhorn. Over the diesel knocking of the bulldozer's engine, even at idle, it was hard for him to discern where a sound was coming from. He peered out of the protective cage encasing him, to the sea of barricades and police cruisers. Finally, he saw an officer crouching behind an open police car's door with a bullhorn in his hand.

"Gregg," the boy shouted back nervously to the police officer.

"Gregg, okay. Now, Gregg, can you tell me why you're rampaging through town with a stolen bulldozer?" the officer asked.

Rampaging? Gregg wasn't aware that his activities could be considered rampaging. Sure, he had almost certainly destroyed the majority of the vendors' stalls at that farmer's market, but it's not like those were permanent structures or anything.

"It... it was kind of an accident, sir," he stammered.

"An accident?!" the incredulous officer shouted back. "Pray tell, how is this an accident?"

"Well, honestly sir, I swear it is all a very regrettable accident," Gregg replied earnestly. "I saw this bulldozer just sitting on the side of the road near where they were doing some work. No one was in it, and I thought it'd be fun to hop in for a moment and just check it out. I've always liked bulldozers, sir," Gregg explained.

"Oh, is that so?" the officer asked in a matter-of-fact fashion.

"Yes, I didn't mean to cause any problems, really! I just hit one knob or lever in here accidentally, I don't even know which one! Then, the bulldozer just started moving by itself! It seems like it has a mind of its own. Every time I tried to stop it, it just made things worse. I'm awfully sorry, sir, I didn't mean to ruin this parade honoring our proud veterans! I think they are all heroes, I promise!" Gregg said.

"Oh, you're sorry about that? And I suppose we should just tell all the orphans that you're really sorry for trampling through their playground, too?" the officer shot back.

Gregg grimaced. "That was an orphan playground? Well, I am sorry about that, too. If it makes them feel any better, they could come over to my house, I've got a slide and swing set in the backyard."

"I'm sure that will make it all better," the officer replied sarcastically. "Listen, Gregg, we can worry about how to make amends later. For now, why don't we focus on bringing this mess to an end, huh? What is it going to take to get you to shut that thing down and come out of there?"

"Nothing!" Gregg shouted back. "I don't even want to be in here now. I was trying to turn it off before, but that's when all those bad things started happening. I finally got it to stop like this, but I'm afraid to move. What if it starts going again?" he asked, his voice panicked by the mere though.

"I see," the officer said, sounding sympathetic for the first time since the conversation began. He started speaking off the bullhorn, and Gregg could only see him gesturing to some other officers. After a few moments, another police officer approached him and told him something. The officer picked his bullhorn back up.

"Gregg, directly in front of you, you should see a lever with a red knob, do you see it?" the officer asked.

Gregg glanced around the cabin and spotted it immediately. "Yes," he answered.

"Good. I want you to pull that lever towards you, as hard as you can. That should kill the engine and then we can get you out of there."

"Okay, are you sure?" Gregg asked as his hands grasped the lever shakily.

"Yes, now let's get this over with," the officer said confidently.

Gregg did as he was told. But when he pulled the lever, rather than turning off, the engine suddenly burst back to life with an angry roar and an ugly cloud of black exhaust from its smokestack.

Gregg felt the rumble in his seat as the bulldozer once again began to lurch forward.

"Oh no, it's happening again!" he shouted.


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