Chapter Seven: Showdown In Cisco
AN:Well, the finish line is in sight. Some loose ends will be tied up and a winner will be chosen.
Sorry if it appears that I rushed through these last couple of chapters, but I mentioned my bout with writer's block last chapter. I can also say we're heading for a rather controversial ending.
Well, here we go.
Hours after leaving the final checkpoint at Brigham Young University, the Crown Victoria made its way through Oakland.
"Almost there." said Victor. "We're almost there."
"Just across the bay and we're done." said Pamela.
"Hey, J.J, you alright?" asked Mad Dog.
"Yeah, I'm fine." said J.J. He looked around and whispered "Where the hell is it?"
Victor pulled into the toll booth for the Bay Bridge. He paid the toll and pulled out. He caught a glimpse of silver to his left. He looked over and saw Danny's Audi.
"Hey, J.J!" yelled the doctor.
"You really messed me up there." said Danny. "My cousin had to fly up here for the transplant."
"Sorry about that." said Mad Dog.
"I'm gonna make you pay me back by kicking your ass." said Danny.
He started to pull away from the Crown Vic.
"Victor, are you gonna take that from him?" asked J.J.
"I have to, but...he won't." said Victor.
"Who?" asked J.J.
"HIM." said Victor.
The Scion started to come up behind him.
"There's J.J. and Danny." said Marcie. "There's J.J. and Danny."
"There's our next pass." said Jessie as she went to the next gear.
J.J. looked out the rear window. "Here come Jill and Marcie." he said.
"DA! DA! DAAAAAHHH!" called Victor.
The Crown Victoria took off like a shot and J.J. looked forward. Victor had changed into Captain Chaos.
The Audi and Scion raced after them. The three cars took the next exit and hit the surface streets. They were joined by the Aston Martin and BMW among others.
"That's J.J!" yelled Fenderbaum.
"He got through?" asked Blake.
"More Cannonballers." said Ron.
"At least Brad's not here." said the Drake.
A few more cars, including the Acura, raced out of a side street.
"Dammit!" yelled the Drake.
"Ooh, the Drake looks pissed." said Brad.
"He'll be even more if we can pull this off." said Jackie.
The cars approached a gas station. The Coronet was there gassing up.
"Here comes everybody." said Mel as he scrambled into the backseat.
"Are we paid for?" asked Terry as he jumped behind the wheel and started it.
"Yeah, definitely." said Monkey as he slid into the passenger seat.
The Coronet tore out a second later. The cars raced down the street towards the finish line.
The cars took a hard left next. That's when Jackie made his move. He swerved and cut off the Drake. The Drake swerved to avoid him and spun out.
"Dammit, Jackie!" yelled Ron.
"Have you guys ever killed anyone before?" asked the Drake.
The cars raced towards the finish line at Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental Hotel. The Crown Victoria, Aston Martin, and Coronet were in the lead.
"Down to the wire!" said Mad Dog.
"No stopping now!" said J.J.
"What are you doing?" asked Fenderbaum.
"Making it look convincing." said Blake.
"Go, man!" said Mel. "We can't lose to this guy!"
"Blake, of course not." said Terry. "J.J, I'm okay with."
Batman stood in the crowd at the finish. "Alright." he said.
Just then, they all heard a bell clang. Batman looked and saw a cable car entering the intersection. "Oh, you've gotta be kidding me." he said.
"Cable Car!" yelled Pamela when she saw thecable carwas about to cross into their path.
Chaos hit the brakes and swerved off to the side, ending up behind the cable car.
"That was close." said J.J.
"Yeah, but it also cost us the race." said Mad Dog.
"We lose this one." said Chaos. "But perhaps citizen Fletcher will pull this off."
Unfortunately, Terry was not pulling it off.
"Blake, I think you're being a little too convincing." said Fenderbaum.
"Come on, faster!" said Monkey.
"I'm going as fast as I can." said Terry.
The Aston Martin crossed the finish line with the Coronet right behind it. The cars' brakes came on and they stopped.
Blake froze behind the wheel. "Did we just win?" he asked.
"Shit!" yelled Terry. "Of all the guys to lose to, why him?"
"Dammit!" yelled J.J.
Mad Dog's cell phone rang. He answered it. "Yo."
It was Batman. "Blake just won. What do I do?"
"Check the departure times." said Mad Dog. "Maybe Terry got here faster."
"He didn't. I already checked." said Batman. "Blake was one of the last drivers to leave. Most of who was behind him got arrested."
Mad Dog sighed. "Treat him like a normal winner." he said. "We have no choice."
Blake and Fenderbaum climbed out of the Aston Martin. They both looked somewhat guilty and surprised. Batman ran over to greet them. Several other Cannonballers pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and many got out of their cars.
"Well, congratulations on your absolutely stunning victory." said Batman half-heartedly. "To tell you the truth, you two were the last guys we wanted to see in the winners' circle due to the business with the Drake last year. However, one racer is just as good as another in this race. You managed to reach the finish line faster than anyone else. And that's just the guys who made it. Lots of your competitors are currently behind bars right now. But you, you've made it. You made it before anyone else. Do you have any words?"
Blake looked out at the other Cannonballers and said "Everybody remove any evidence of your affiliation with this race NOW. The police are on their way and they are on the warpath."
"How do you know this?" asked Batman.
"The mole, it's us." said Blake. "Hurry!"
The Cannonballers started to murmur amongst themselves.
"Okay, guys." said Batman. "Get your cars into parking spaces immediately. We'll take down the banners and hide the time clock. If we're lucky, we can get safe before the cops get here. Go!"
The Cannonballers ran to their cars and started to move them into parking spaces.
Mad Dog backed the Crown Victoria into a parking space.
"I totally saw this coming." said J.J. "Who saw this coming?" he asked as he raised his hand.
The Drake's BMW pulled into the parking lot. "This is not good." said the Drake as he saw the chaos.
Several officials took down the banners. Another took the time clock and threw it into the trunk of a nearby car.
After the documentarists parked their BMW, the cameraman filmed the activity.
"Better hide that before the cops get here." said the driver. "They'll analize that for evidence."
"Good idea. Pop the trunk." said the cameraman.
Sirens were heard, but the parking lot only looked like it was full of cars.
"Make yourselves scarce, guys." said Batman. Many of the Cannonballers, including J.J's team, went to hide somewhere. Batman, Blake, and Fenderbaum were among those who remained.
A few police cars pulled into the parking lot. Foyt and several police officers climbed out.
"Hey, it's Mr, uh..." said Batman.
"Foyt!" said Blake and Fenderbaum.
"Yeah, that guy." said Batman.
"Well, Mr. Blake." said Foyt. "Can you get all the Cannonballers out here to face the music?"
"What Cannonballers?" asked Fenderbaum. "When they saw their competitors falling left and right, the remaining racers all abandoned the race."
"Whoa, there was another Cannonball?" asked Batman. "Whoa, that's wild!"
"What are you talking about?" asked Foyt. "The Cannonballers are part of the lunatic fringe. They wouldn't give up so easily."
"I heard it with my own ears." said Fenderbaum. "All across the radio racers were calling in and dropping out. We would've told you, but we wanted to see if we could catch a few at the finish. However, those who made it quickly took off again. I guess they didn't want to get caught."
"What about all these people?" asked Foyt.
"I don't know, I guess they're guests at the hotel." said Fenderbaum. "They were here when we arrived. Isn't that right, Blake?"
"Huh?" asked Blake. "Oh, yes. Yes, it is."
"You're not serious." said Foyt. "We are going to take all these people in as Cannonballers."
"How do you know they're Cannonballers?" asked Blake.
"Well, I, uh." stammered Foyt. He had realized Blake was right and he had no proof, then he thought of something. "Well, we can prove you were in the race and your amnesty still stands. And the others, I suppose the only one we can prove is a Cannonballer is the winner since the officials would log that. So, who won?"
Everybody looked to Blake and Fenderbaum who just smiled at the irony.
"Oh, you've gotta be kidding me!" said Foyt. "You two morons won the race?"
"Yeah, funny, huh?" asked Blake.
"You mean to tell me we just launched a major sting into the Cannonball and the majority of the racers got away with it?" asked Foyt.
"Looks like it." said Fenderbaum.
Foyt let out a loud, long groan which quickly turned into a scream. He and the police got back into their cars and drove off.
After Foyt and the police left, the Cannonballers came out of hiding and Blake let out a huge sigh of relief. Just then, Frankie and his group arrived. The engines of the Dakota and Monte Carlo shut down while the Granada stalled again. The group then exited their vehicles.
"Okay, Mad Dog." said Frankie. "You remember our deal."
"That I do." said Mad Dog. "You can bring your cars to either my or J.J's garages whenever you're ready. I'll even spring for the air fare."
"Can you also spring for a tow truck?" asked one guy. "The engine in the Granada is hanging by a thread."
"That's well and good, but there's our other deal." said Frankie. "In addition to working on our cars, you are also to pay me the sum of no more than ten percent of the prize money."
Most of the Cannonballers laughed.
"What's so funny?" asked Frankie.
"There's no prize money." laughed Mad Dog.
"There isn't?" asked Frankie.
"There isn't?" asked Blake.
"What about the prize last year?" asked Frankie.
"Oh, that." said the Drake. "I threw that in thinking no one would race again without some incentive. Boy, was I wrong."
"But if there's no money in this," said Frankie "why are all of you here?"
"Adventure!" said Jessie.
"Showing off technology." said Michael.
"Showing off skills." said the Drake.
"Stress relief." said Danny.
"Yeah, we've got all of these guys from different walks of life." said Terry. "Street racers, tech geeks, international playboys, a couple of rednecks from Kentucky. But here, all those differences fade away."
Someone yelled "Yeah!" and there was a loud cheer from the crowd.
"Well, someone's gotta give me something." said Frankie as he reached into his pocket. "Maybe someone can give me something in exchange for this ring?"
"Wait, that's my ring!" said J.J. Pamela looked at him in shock.
"Yeah, it's nice." said Frankie. "What were you going to do with it?"
"It's an engagement ring." said J.J.
Pamela's shock intensified. "What?" she gasped.
"Pamela, for the last two days, I've been trying to propose to you." said J.J. "Every time I try, I get distracted. I just want to take the opportunity to propose and I can't do that without the ring."
"Yeah, pay me and you get it back." said Frankie.
"A challenge." said J.J. "A race. I'll challenge you to a drag race right here, right now. I'm driving the Crown Vic."
"Why the Crown Vic?" asked Frankie.
"Because I worked on it with Victor and Mad Dog." said J.J. "I have absolute faith in their skills as well as mine and I know it can move."
Frankie pondered his offer. "Okay, I'm game." he said. "But I need a new car since none of mine are really in good condition."
"Take one from one of the Cannonballers." said J.J. "Take anyone you like. I love you."
"Okay." said Frankie. "I think I'll take the winner here, the Aston Martin."
"Sounds fair." said Fenderbaum.
"Okay, let's go." said Victor.
Just then, Danny's pager went off.
"Hey, I know a great strip for the race just a few blocks over." said Jill.
"Hey, if it's alright with you, can you fill me in later?" asked Danny. "I have to go get my life saved."
"By all means. Go." said J.J. as he climbed into the Crown Victoria's driver's seat.
The cars started up and drove to the street for the drag race. On the way, Danny's Audi turned off and headed for the hospital.
The Crown Vic and Aston Martin pulled up to an intersection. The other Cannonballers blocked it off and the one the cars were facing. Jill stepped between the two cars and checked to make sure they were even with each other.
"Alright, this is how we do it in L.A." said Jill. "When I drop my arms, the cars race for the next intersection. First one there wins. It's simple as that."
"Hold it, hold it." said Monkey. "I think there's something caught under here." He kneeled in front of the Aston Martin and reached under the front bumper. He pulled out a leaf. "Never mind, it's just a leaf." he said.
At the other intersection, the Acura and both M3's were set up. The driver of the yellow M3 kneeled next to the crosswalk with a still camera while his passenger stood next to him with a video camera.
"So, Drake." said Brad. "I think I've picked out a business I'd like to acquire from you."
"You know something, save it." said the Drake. "How does this sound? Double or nothing. If J.J. wins, the deal is null and void. But if Frankie wins, you get two of my businesses."
"Really?" asked Brad.
"Really." said the Drake.
"How can I say no to that?" asked Brad.
J.J. and Frankie revved their engines hard as Jill looked down the street. She looked back at them and raised her arms. She looked at J.J, then at Frankie. She held her arms up for another second, then dropped them.
The two cars tore out of the intersection and raced down the street. Racers cheered them on.
"Hey, guys. Question." said Monkey.
"Go ahead." said Terry.
"Alright." said Monkey. "If someone, say me, were to remove the radiator plug, say this one," He held up a radiator plug. "from an Aston Martin, say that one, how long would it take the engine to overheat?"
Mel and Terry looked at each other knowing what was about to happen.
The cars charged down the street. The Aston Martin took a slight lead about halfway down the block. Suddenly, the temperature light came on as the engine started to overheat.
"Should that car be losing speed like that?" asked Jackie.
Frankie noticed the Aston Martin was starting to overheat. "Come on!" he yelled. "Come on!"
The Aston's engine started to fail even more. The Crown Vic started to catch up with, then pass the Aston Martin.
"Come on! Come on!" said J.J.
The Crown Vic then pulled ahead of the Aston Martin and crossed the finish line half a car length ahead.
The driver of the yellow M3 took a picture as the cars passed. "Holy shit, J.J. won!" said his passenger.
The crowd at the finish cheered...except for Brad. The Drake patted him on the back and said "Well, there's a lesson for you. Never bet against J.J. McClure."
Terry watched the finish on the LCD screen of his cell phone. "He did it!" he yelled. A cheer erupted from the crowd at the start.
"Yeah! Yeah!" cheered Monkey.
He jumped around and came face-to-face with Marcie.
"Oh, uh, it's you." he said. "I, uh..."
"Did I hear you correctly?" asked Marcie. "You sabotaged the Aston?"
"Um, yeah." said Monkey.
"Why did you do that?" asked Marcie.
"Well, I saw how into her he was and I realized I had to do something for them." said Monkey.
She hugged him.
"Wow." said Monkey. "If I knew this is what it would take, I would've sabotaged the Aston at the start."
"Hey, maybe someone will do that for you two someday." said Mel.
"Knock it off, Mel." said Marcie.
At the finish, Frankie was looking at the front of the Aston which was trailing smoke.
"Whoa, that Ford owned that Aston!" said Venom.
"Well, Ford does own Aston." said Ron.
"Deal's a deal, Thunder." said J.J. "Where is it?"
"Here it is." said Frankie. "I gave you my word. Hold on a second, I have to do something first." He took the ring out of his pocket and stroked it while hissing "My precious."
The crowd laughed.
Frankie tossed the ring to J.J. and said "Here you go. Treat it well. Oh, and give her a kiss for me."
J.J. took the ring and walked over to Jackie who was holding up his cell phone and using the camera to broadcast the finish to the people at the start. "Hey, Jackie." said J.J. "Are you still connected?"
"Yeah, you want to talk to Pamela?" asked Jackie.
"You bet." said J.J.
"Hey, Terry, the winner wants to talk to his lady." said Jackie.
He handed the phone to J.J. J.J. said "Honey, I'm coming home. Oh, and can you give the phone to Judas? I've got some bad news about his car."
Danny raced into the hospital parking lot. He quickly found a parking space and slid his Audi into it. He jumped out and ran for the entrance with the doctor right behind him.
Danny ran into the entrance and went to the reception desk. "Excuse me, I'm supposed to be here for a kidney transplant." he said.
"Just a second." said the desk nurse.
"Danny?" said someone. "Is that you?"
"Phil!" yelled Danny as he turned around. "How's my favorite cousin doing?"
"I'll ask him when I see him." joked Phil.
"Mr. Mitchell, they want you in surgery." said the nurse.
"Okay, let's go do this." said Danny.
The nurse led the two of them to the operating room.
"Look, Phil, I can't thank you enough." said Danny. "You're literally saving my life here."
"No problem. That's what family is for." said Phil. "Are you alright? You don't look so good."
"I've just been up for about thirty-six hours." said Danny. "I was taking part in a road race across the country."
"Guess you're not going to be needing anesthetic." said Phil.
"On the other hand, I haven't had much time to eat." said Danny. "So, I guess I followed their instructions correctly."
"Okay, you comedians, let's go." said the nurse.
Hours later, the post-race party was in full swing.
"So, did I do good?" asked Monkey.
"Well, you only destroyed the engine in a two-hundred grand Aston Martin." said Marcie.
They sat at a table with Mel, Jill, and Jessie.
"You two getting together?" asked Jill.
"We sure are." said Marcie.
"'Bout bloody time." said Jessie.
"Yeah, I was thinking of moving out to L.A." said Monkey. "That way, I can be with my lady love and my next love."
"What's that? Working on cars?" asked Mel.
"You bet." said Monkey. "And you?"
"I got a kid on the way." said Mel. "This is it for me. If Terry wants to run next year, he's going to have to find someone else."
Terry walked over.
"Hey, Terry. What's up?" asked Jill.
"Uh, Monkey." said Terry. "When we finished the race, I called your dad. I told him all you helped with and, uh, he's here."
"That was fast." said Monkey as he got up and went with him.
"Not really." said Terry as he led Monkey outside. "He called me just before the race and I told him to meet us in Los Angeles. He just drove up from there."
"The drive would do him some good." said Mel as he followed.
Monkey's father was waiting outside. "Dad, what are you doing here?" asked Monkey.
"Terry said I'd find you here." said his dad. "It's nice to see you survived the journey. Listen, in the past month, I've thought about things. I realized that I never really treated you much like a son these last few years. I always lash out at you for anything and sometimes, it's just not justified. I tried to think about why I do that and I had a thought. I'm mad. I'm mad that you're still working for me instead of trying to make it on your own. I'm mad that you're most likely going to be stuck doing the same thing long after I'm gone. But mostly, I'm mad at myself for not letting you spread your wings. Monkey, if you want to step away and leave, I won't stand in your way."
"Dad, I found someone." said Monkey. "She's a really nice girl and she loves cars like I do. You should see what she can do under the hood."
"Marcie, right?" asked his father. "Terry told me about her."
"She does what I'd like to do." said Monkey. "I want her not only to be my girlfriend, but my teacher as well."
"If this is how you tender your resignation, so be it." said his father. "Go on, live your life. You deserve a chance."
Monkey took a second to process the information. "Thank you, dad." he said.
His father smiled and said "Oh, by the way, I thought I'd give you something to start your new life with. It's over in the parking lot."
"Really? Thanks again." said Monkey. He walked over to the parking lot with Mel and Terry behind him.
Monkey walked into the parking lot, stopped, and looked slightly disappointed. He saw what his father's gift was: the Gremlin. Mel and Terry doubled over in laughter.
"No harm, no foul. I love it." laughed Venom.
"Our little dance continues, Drake." said Brad.
"Until next year, Bradley." said the Drake.
"Cheers." said Jackie as he took a sip of his Mr. Pibb's.
"You're not drinking alcohol?" asked Ron.
"No, I decided not to." said Jackie. "After what I was told about what I did last year, I thought it was a bad idea."
"Thank God!" yelled Brad.
Mad Dog went up to the mic. "Ladies and gentlemen, lend me your ears." he said. "I'd like to congratulate you all for completing the most outrageous journey of your life."
The Cannonballers cheered.
"I just want to point out that you really should be proud of yourselves this time around since the police were more diligent, more organized, more stringent. These were high stakes and you rose to the challenge. You surpassed the challenge. You succeeded where others failed. But we're not going to praise you to disrespect those who didn't make it. We're going to honor those guys and hopefully see them next year. Of the thirty or so teams to start the race, seventeen made it to the finish. We don't know where that Fiat 500 is."
The Cannonballers laughed.
"Of those teams that made it, one is not here right now." said Mad Dog. "That is the team of Danny Mitchell and Dr. Nicholas Van Helsing, who are now down at the hospital where Mitchell just received a kidney transplant and is reportedly recovering nicely."
The Cannonballers cheered again.
"And now, J.J. and Pamela and the moment you've been waiting for." said Mad Dog. (AN:And that goes for all of you reading this as well.)
J.J. walked to the center of the stage and looked Pamela right in the eyes. "Pamela, we've been going together for...ah, screw it. Pamela, will you marry me?"
"Yes!" squealed Pamela. She quickly jumped on him and they kissed. The crowd cheered and burst into applause.
Blake turned to Mad Dog and asked "All's well that ends well, right?"
Mad Dog turned to him and said "Get bent, traitor."