Chapter 1: A New Run
AN:Welcome to the next fic.
You're probably wondering why this has been posted so soon after the conclusion and epilogue to CR2006. The thing is I was working on this around the time I was working on CR2006 and CR5, mostly to get the scenes down before I forgot what I came up with.
There is one thing I have to mention. About halfway through this chapter comes a plot development which has proven quite controversial with those I've shown it to. (Until now, this is just Anthony.)
As for why it's set in Europe, well, I just wanted to try something a little different this time. I'm not sure if it will work, but who knows?
One last thing: this fic has nothing to do with the real Cannonball Run Europe other than the starting line.
In any case, here we go.
July, 2005. The transcontinental road race known as the Cannonball Run had just concluded. Perennial favorite J.J. McClure had just gotten engaged to his girlfriend while longtime rival Jamie Blake had won the race.
A man walked over to the race organizer, Dennis "Mad Dog" Menesini, and asked him "Mr. Mad Dog, can we talk in private?" in a British accent.
Mad Dog and the man walked into a room Mad Dog had rented. "What's the deal?" asked Mad Dog.
"My name is Kenneth Livingston." said the man.
"The Group C driver?" asked Mad Dog.
"Well, I was." said Kenneth. "Currently, I'm working as a writer for a British car mag. I have made numerous high speed runs on various highways across Europe, mostly in blatant disregard for legality, safety, and common sense."
"You sound like someone I'd like to know." said Mad Dog.
"Indeed." said Kenneth. "Anyways, back in England, I was approached by several like-minded individuals who asked me to enter this race and pass along judgement to them."
"So, what did you think?" asked Mad Dog.
"I think it's high time Europe got a taste of the Cannonball." said Kenneth. "Many of those like-minded individuals wanted a chance to take part in the race and they wanted me to see what it was like in the case they were able to make the journey to America. I decided to save them the trouble."
"By holding it in Europe." said Mad Dog.
"Quite." said Kenneth. "Here's what I was planning. A month after you run your race next year, the European Cannonball Run will be run for the first time. This is so anyone who has the desire and means to take part in both can do so. Now, since Europe is smaller than North America, we might have to change up the format a little to get the full effect."
"Change it how?" asked Mad Dog.
"Instead of one long dash from point A to point B," said Kenneth "it will be broken up into stages snaking its way around the continent. Each of these stages will end at a checkpoint where the racers will stop off for a rest period before continuing the journey. So, what do you say?"
"It sounds like an intriguing prospect." said Mad Dog. "I'll grant you permission to run a European Cannonball under one condition."
"What's that?" asked Kenneth.
"Save me a spot." said Mad Dog.
The two shared a laugh.
Two years later, the American Cannonball Run was almost finished. Professional skateboarder Rob Falcon raced down the highway in a black '86 Chevrolet El Camino SS. Across the sunvisor was a sticker reading "Mass Casualty Tour".
Rob was singing along with the radio which was playing "Monkeywrench" by the Foo Fighters.
"This is as thrilling as last year." he said.
"Except Patrick isn't here." said his bodyguard Big Bison. "Oh, that reminds me. He called while you were in the can back in Chino."
"Really?" said Rob. "I'll have to call him back after we finish."
"Speaking of which, this is our exit." said Bison.
Rob raced down an exit ramp and pulled a power slide at the bottom.
"Portofino's just down the street." said Rob.
He weaved around several cars, then pulled into the entrance to the Portofino Inn, the finish line to the race.
"These guys are going to be jazzed to see us." said Bison.
"Doesn't look like it." said Rob as he saw the other Cannonballers. "Wait, what the hell is going on?"
Several Cannonballers were parked along the driveway. The first one Rob passed was NASCAR mechanic Terry Fletcher. He leaned against his brown '69 Ford Talledega and held his hand over his face while his wife Sarah tried to comfort him.
Next was Chicago playboy Seymour Drake Jr, also known as "The Drake". He stood next to his silver BMW Z4 while yelling into his cell phone. His bodyguard Ron Lucas looked around franticly.
MIT graduates Jackie Lewis and Michael North were next to be passed. Jackie was sitting in the driver's seat of their Mitsubishi Eclipse with his legs hanging out of the door. Michael leaned against the fender and just shook his head.
Rob then passed street racer Jill Boyd. She stood next to her Acura RSX and talked with her friend, tuner Marcie Thatcher. Their conversation was obviously tense.
The last one Rob passed was Blake who just stared ahead of his red Ferrari F430. His teammate Morris Fenderbaum also stared in disbelief.
Just ahead of them, J.J. was laying face-down on the hood of an olive drab Dodge Charger with military markings. He was wearing an officer's uniform and was being held onto the hood by a CHP officer.
Rob and Bison parked the El Camino and climbed out. "Blake, what's going on?" asked Rob.
"J.J. just got arrested for impersonating military personel." said Blake. "Apparently, that's a pretty serious offense."
"Shit." muttered Rob.
"And you want to know what's really ironic?" asked Blake. "He won the race."
Later, the Cannonballers retreated to a buffet to eat dinner and discuss the arrest.
Jill laid out a hamburger and was now trying to pry a slice of cheese free of a stack. Next to her, Jackie leaned over a plate of baked salmon.
"God, I'm depressed." he said. He grabbed Jill's burger patty just before she dropped the cheese onto it.
Rob sat near Blake and Terry.
"What do you think is going to happen to him?" asked Blake as he fingered his fish and chips.
"I don't know yet." said Terry as he picked up a slice of pizza. "I heard he's going to lose his license."
Rob looked at them depressed. Bison then sat down across from him with a bowl of mashed potatoes.
"Potatoes?" asked Rob.
"There wasn't much left." said Bison. "Do you think J.J's gonna be okay?"
"I don't know yet." said Rob. "This is J.J. we're talking about. He always manages to come through clean."
"I'm not so sure about that." said Bison. "It looked pretty serious out there."
Just then, the Drake stood at the front of the room. "Cannonballers, please give me a minute." he said. "I just got off the phone with my lawyer. He says that J.J. pled guilty to the charge of impersonating a military officer which I didn't even know was illegal."
"Come on!" yelled someone.
"As a result," continued the Drake "it looks like he is going to jail. Unfortunately, he's also going to lose his license."
"However, Victor and Pamela got off scot free as a result of J.J's plea." said the Drake. "I gave him the best lawyer I could afford and this will be going to trial. There's nothing we can do for him right now. Refill your stomachs and save me a crepe."
"Well, that sucked." said Rob.
"I know." said Bison. "We all kept thinking J.J. was invincible. When he goes down, it reminds us all we could be next."
"Next year's race isn't going to be the same without him." said Rob.
"Got that right." said Bison. "Oh, did you remember to call Patrick back?"
"No, I didn't." said Rob. "I kinda forgot with all the drama going on." He took out his cell phone.
"Don't call him now." said Bison. "Ireland's eight hours ahead of L.A. It's one in the morning there.
"Okay." said Rob. "I can wait a few hours."
At eleven, Rob and Bison had returned home. Rob got on the phone and called Patrick.
At that time in Dublin, Irish professional skateboarder Patrick Bannon looked into a video camera set up next to his pool. The rounded-bottom pool had been completely drained.
"This is Patrick Bannon preparing for the Pan-European Extreme. It is seven o'clock in the morning and I am about to skate this pool. If there are any flaws in my technique, this footage is sure to spotlight them. And here I go."
Patrick ran over to the side of the pool where his skateboard sat. He stepped on the board and wheeled it to the edge of the pool. After balancing the board on the lip for a couple of seconds, he put his other foot on the front of the board and rode it into the pool. On his way down, the phone rang.
"Andy!" he yelled as he raced up the other side. "Get that!" he yelled as he popped up the first side.
In the living room, a man with messy dark hair, disheveled clothes, and a ball and chain necklace stirred awake on the couch. He rolled onto the floor and staggered back to his feet. He walked to the ringing phone as picked it up as Patrick managed to pull himself out of the pool.
"Whoever the hell this is, do you have any idea how bloody early it is right now?"
Patrick ran into the kitchen, vaulted over the table, and took the phone. "Hello?" he asked. "Oh, Rob!"
"Sorry I took so long to get back." said Rob. "It's been a bad day. So, who was that?"
"Oh, that's just Andy." said Patrick. "I decided to let him sleep on my couch after last night's party."
"So, why'd you call earlier?" asked Rob.
"Did you know there's a Cannonball Run in Europe?" asked Patrick.
"No, I didn't know that." said Rob.
"It's taking place next month and Andy and I were wondering if you wanted to come with us." said Patrick.
"After I just ran this long race, you want me to take part in another?" asked Rob.
"Sure." said Patrick.
"Can Bison come too?" asked Rob.
"Of course." said Patrick.
"Yeah, I think I can make it." said Rob. "I'm going to have to clear my schedule."
"Great, we'll see you then." said Patrick.
"Sounds great. Bye." said Rob.
"Bye." said Patrick as he hung up. He then saw Andy holding his head in his hands. "Not a morning person, are you?"
"Who was that?" asked Andy. "That yank you ran the American Cannonball Run with last year?"
"That was him." said Patrick. "He's bringing his bodyguard with him. This is going to be a really fun ride."
"I hope so." said Andy. "Considering we don't have a car yet."