Vignette (literature), short, impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment or give a particular insight into a character, idea, setting or premise. May be comic, poignant or merely an intriguing moment for the author to explore and share with friends.
Jim's arm slipped off the armrest as the passenger door was yanked open. "What the…?" Jim began, but Karen's scream filled the cabin as she scrambled on top of him and pulled the door closed behind her.
"We gotta get outa here right now!" She tried to climb over him but there wasn't enough room in the car. In the tangle of arms and legs Jim found himself in the driver's seat with an hysterical Karen screaming in his ear, her foot stomping on his in a desperate search for the throttle and her hands somehow through his and on the wheel. "Start the car!" she yelled. "Just start the fucking car!" He turned the key, she threw it into gear and they lurched forward.
Jim grabbed the wheel and slammed on the brakes. "What are you doing?"
"Go! Move! We gotta get out here!" Her words were accompanied by another frantic jab at the throttle through his foot. Somewhere in the back of his mind he thanked God she didn't wear stillhettos.
"Karen, no, I can't." As the words left his mouth he heard the muffled sound of an explosion, the passenger window tinkled into the seat beside him and the right side of his face warmed.
She wrenched the wheel out of his hands and yelled, "Throttle now! I'll steer."
He drove the gas pedal to the floor. The sudden surge of power caused the car to fly up off the embankment onto the road. Karen spun the wheel and aimed the car at the centre line of the empty road while Jim kept steady pressure on the pedal.
Finally taking her eyes off the billowing flames of the fireworks factory Karen turned back just in time to see a pedestrian only yards in front of them. "Stop!"
Jim slammed on the brakes as she swerved. They slid to a halt, softly kissing a traffic light, narrowly missing the unsuspecting pedestrian who continued running away from the explosion, oblivious to his near miss.
Behind them, the loud explosions were now joined by the whistling sounds of rockets and then another explosion that shook the road, jiggled the car and blew out the back window.
Karen slumped back into the passenger's seat and Jim rested his head on his arms atop the wheel.
A uniformed officer ran up the road to the car and poked his head in the driver's window. Seeing the occupants unharmed he gave vent to his anger. "What the hell happened there? You nearly ran over that pedestrian."
"I didn't see them," Jim said as he turned toward the officer.
The young man blinked in surprise as he looked between Bettancourt and Dunbar. "Um, Detective Dunbar?"
He stepped back, then looked again, "I ...I…"
Karen turned away, checked Hank and whispered to Jim.
Jim took the keys out of the ignition and stepped out of the car. He held them out toward the stunned officer and slammed the door, "Park this for me will you? I'll be back to pick it up later." Rescuing Hank from the back seat, he walked toward the back of the car.
Karen scrambled out the passenger window and joined her partner. They walked back to the explosion, the officer standing with his hand still out, keys sitting on his palm and his mouth open watching the two detectives and the dog. A moment later he was on the radio.
Jim took his ear piece out, stood, and started toward Fisk's office. As Jim reached the back of Karen's chair, Fisk's ire was clear in his voice, and just a couple of feet away. Jim stopped and shifted uncomfortably on his feet.
"Why do I have a report saying you were in an auto accident today AS THE DRIVER??? Please tell me this is a hoax or a typo or a Halloween joke."
"Halloween? It's only September." Jim tried his best disarming smile on the boss.
"Oh shit." Fisk threw his hands in the air and looked to Karen. "Karen?"
The female portion of Bettancourt and Dunbar, team extraordinaire, comics without cause, bit her lip in a mannerism more often seen on her partner and stood, effectively placing herself between the two men. "I can explain."
"Well you better, because there is no doubt the Chief of D's will be on the phone within five minutes of seeing this report."
"Well, we were at the scene of that explosion today and I saw it was about to blow. There was no one close by except us. Jim was in the car so I pushed in and we left." Her voice was basically monotone, reasonable and measured.
"You pushed in and left?" He looked from Karen to Jim and back. "That doesn't sound like Jim was driving. So why does Officer..." Fisk checked the report in his hand, "Redmond, insist that Detective James Dunbar, quote "the blind cop" end quote, was behind the wheel of the car and apparently operating the vehicle?" Fisk's glare burned the insouciance from Karen's eyes and she hung her head.
Jim's dark glasses protected him, the wry smile underneath them inviting a more effective reprimand from the Boss. "Well technically, maybe. Actually Karen -" Jim began, but Karen elbowed him sharply in the ribs.
Jim shut his mouth with a snap. He stood taller and squared his shoulders, deciding that hiding behind the more diminutive detective wasn't going to work after all.
Their expressions were eerily matched and their stances mirrored each other as the stood together before the ire of their superior. Fisk took a deep breath. "Were you in the driver's seat Detective Bettancourt?"
"Were you operating the throttle?"
Karen shook her head.
"So you are admitting that Detective Dunbar was in fact driving the car when it crashed?"
Karen found it impossible to meet the boss's eye and Jim's face was red from neck to hairline. Both Jim and Karen held their tongues but indicated the negative.
"And Jim, the report says you got out of the car, handed Officer Redmond the keys, and asked him to park it for you? Did those things happen?"
During the last query, while Fisk's voice climbed in pitch with sheer incredulity, Karen and Jim had gone from shaking their heads to nodding in unison.
"So you admit you were operating a police vehicle?"
"But Boss, we totally missed the pedestrian." Jim and Karen said together.